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Afghan mine collapse kills 28 workers

17 September 2013

At least 28 miners are confirmed dead after a mine collapsed in northern Afghanistan on September 15. The collapse followed a gas explosion at the site. Early reports that 12 miners were trapped alive underground have since been revised, with officials confirming there are no more survivors.

"Today 24 bodies have been recovered and four that are still under the rubble have been pronounced dead," Mohammad Sediq Azizi, Samangan's provincial spokesman, told AFP.

Around 100 other workers were taken to hospital, but discharged after brief treatment. Four emergency workers were also badly injured during the rescue operation. According to Al Jazeera within hours of the collapse, 20 civilian rescuers found themselves choking on the dirt and fumes released into the air.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed his condolences to the victims' families and has ordered an investigation by the country’s mines ministry.

The tragedy has highlighted the dangerous conditions of many Afghan coal mines, with workers using old equipment and little safety gear whilst working in mines that are not properly ventilated or supported.

The site of the explosion was in one of Afghanistan’s many illegally operated facilities.

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