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

Repairs underway to West Kelowna road after flood damage

A portion of Lower Glenrosa Road will be closed until at least Monday says the city

Rally in Kelowna to protest pipeline

Forty people gather outside MP’s office to protest Trans Mountain pipeline project

Protect the Water rally today in Kelowna

The rally will be held at No. 102 – 1420 St Paul Street, Kelowna.

Feature Friday: Is the sky the limit for downtown Kelowna construction?

City building up, not out, as high rise living becomes more popular

Free theatre performance for Lake Country families

Robinson Crusoe + Friday will be performed at Creekside Theatre April 14

What’s happening

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

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

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.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read