QUETTA - At least eight coal miners died of gas suffocation inside a mine in Dukki on Friday.

“A poisonous gas penetrated inside the coal mine causing the death of eight miners,” Rasheed Abro, the inspector of mines in Balochistan, said.

The coal miners were trapped inside the mine on Thursday afternoon. Over a dozen miners were rescued by colleagues and then shifted to a poorly-equipped basic health unit for treatment.  One of the miners died on Thursday evening; however, eight remained trapped inside the coal mine for more than 24 hours.

Abro said that a Quetta-based rescue team was rushed to rescue the miners. However, the team was extremely late in doing so. According to reports, the rescue team arrived in Dukki after a delay of twenty hours. Had the rescue team arrived on time, the lives of the ill-fated miners would have been saved, several other miners who had gathered at the site said.  Coal miners working nearby rushed towards the affected mine and launched a rescue operation on their own to help their colleagues. They succeeded in rescuing 13 coal miners, Levies official Muhammad Qasim said.

Such untoward incidents are common in coal mines of Balochistan in general and in Dukki in particular. The lack of safety arrangements always lead to deaths of poverty-hit miners. Most of the miners working in Dukki are Afghan nationals.  Dukki has rich coal reservoirs and supplies coal to different cities in Punjab to industries and factories.