Reports: At least 35 killed in Iran coal mine explosion

Reports: At least 35 killed in Iran coal mine explosion

TEHRAN, Iran — A coal mine explosion that struck northern Iran killed at least 35 people, semi-official news agencies reported Thursday, as rescuers worked a second day to reach those trapped inside after the blast.

The Fars, Mehr and Tasnim news agencies all carried similar reports Thursday morning. State media did not immediately report on the rise in the death toll in the disaster Wednesday at the Golestan province mine. In a live broadcast by state television, Sadegh Ali Moghadam, the provincial director general of disaster management, said 22 dead bodies had been recovered.

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.

Provincial spokesman Ali Yazerloo said the blast happened at 12:45 p.m. local time (0945 GMT) Wednesday. Several officials blamed the explosion on accumulated gas and said it was affecting rescue efforts. At least 25 people were hospitalized over inhaling the gas during rescue efforts after the blast.

After the blast, ambulances, helicopters and other rescue vehicles raced to the scene as authorities worked to determine the scale of the emergency.

There was confusion about how many miners had been trapped inside, with numbers ranging from dozens to up to 80.

Semi-official Iranian news agencies posted images online from the scene, showing ambulances and emergency workers gathered at the mouth of the mine. Some showed dazed workers, covered in coal dust, being helped by bystanders or laying on the ground as rescuers rushed past with oxygen bottles.

More than 500 workers are employed at the Zemestanyurt mine, which lies 14 kilometres (9 miles) from Azadshahr, according to IRNA. Golestan sits along Iran’s northern border with Turkmenistan and along the shore of the Caspian Sea.

Oil-producing Iran is also rich in a variety of minerals. Iran annually consumes some 2.5 tons of coal but only extracts about 1 million tons from its mines per year. The rest is imported, often consumed in the country’s steel mills.

This is not the first disaster to strike Iran’s mining industry. In 2013, 11 workers were killed in two separate mining incidents. In 2009, 20 workers were killed in several incidents. Lax safety standards and inadequate emergency services in mining areas often are blamed for the fatalities.

Since Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, the country has begun an effort to renovate some of its coal mines. Delegations have visited Tehran from foreign countries including the Czech Republic, hopeful for contracts


Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

Amir Vahdat, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Truck destroyed by fire in West Kelowna

A fire destroyed a truck at Wheel’s Truck Parts Friday

Central Okanagan MLAs plan public meeting on new B.C. taxes

Speculation Tax and Employer Health Tax will be the subject of panel discussion in Kelowna March 25

Sally Ann in Kelowna looking for emergency team volunteers

Information session planned for April 5 at the organization’s Community Church

Driver smashes into Kelowna Buckerfield’s

It took out part of glass front door, but there were no injuries to driver or anyone inside.

Okanagan – Shuswap weekend weather

Plan your weekend better with a weather update from Black Press media

What’s happening

Find out what events are taking place this weekend in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Correction: Museum fashion tour to be held Saturday

A mistake was in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper incorrectly stating a different day

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

Most Read