Coal mine explosion in northern Iran kills at least 35
04 May 2017
The Iranian Fars news agency said on May 4 that the death toll in a coal mine explosion the previous day at Azadshahr in Golestan province in northern Iran had reached at least 35. The provincial director general of disaster management said 22 dead bodies had been recovered, and that some of the dead were rescuers who had gone into the mine to help victims of the initial explosion.
More than 500 workers are employed at the Zemestanyurt mine, which is near the Caspian Sea. No figure was available as to how many had been trapped by the blast but some local sources put it as high as 80.
Officials blamed the explosion on accumulated gas in the mine and said it was affecting rescue efforts. At least 25 people were hospitalised after inhaling the gas during rescue efforts after the blast.
There was confusion about how many miners had been trapped inside, with numbers ranging from dozens to up to 80. Twelve miners are believed to have escaped unhurt.
The province will observe three days of mourning after the explosion, Iranian state television reported. Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani issued an order demanding his government use all available resources to rescue those still trapped, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
Iran produced 1.68 million tonnes of coal in 2016, mostly for use in steel production.