A collapse at a marble quarry in a remote area of Pakistan on Monday has killed at least 17 people, and 11 others are missing. Police said the terrain may have been unstable due to the use of heavy explosives used to break apart the stone.
Rescue workers, including Pakistani soldiers, continued to dig through the rubble to find survivors on Tuesday.
The quarry is located in the Ziarat area of Mohmand in western Pakistan, along the border with Afghanistan. The area is famous for its export quality exclusive white marble.
Between 40 and 50 people were at the site at the time of the collapse which occurred Monday evening.
“Usually a large number of people work in these marble mines but luckily a majority had finished work and returned home,” Tariq Habib, district police chief of Mohmand district told Reuters.
Nine people were injured. The number of fatalities was unclear. Some families took bodies of loved ones directly to their homes from the site, said Sameen Shinwari, a doctor at the Ghalanai District Headquarters Hospital.
Cellular signals and other communication facilities are unreliable in large parts of Mohmand district. The area where the quarry is located has also got no cellular signals and communication facilities.
Deadly mining accidents
Deadly mining accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan. At least 10 workers were killed in a rockslide at a marble quarry in Buner earlier in February. Thirty workers were killed in explosions at two coal mines in Quetta city of Balochistan province in 2018. In 2011, 45 workers were also killed by an explosion at a coal mine outside Quetta.
Pakistani minors work in mines without proper safety gear. A student from Balochistan in 2019, invented an ‘eye smart helmet’ for miners’ safety.
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