4 dead, six trapped in Chhattisgarh coal mine accident

A deputy general manager of Public Sector South Eastern Coal Fields Limited (SECL) and three workers were killed and 30 others were injured, a dozen of them seriously, in a blast inside a coal mine today while they were trying to plug a Carbon Monoxide leak at Anjani Hill mine at Chirmiri in Koriya district of Chhattisgarh.

“Six workers are still trapped inside the coal mine that caved in due to the blast. Rescue operations are in full swing” Koriya district collector Alok Awasthi told The Indian Express over telephone from the accident spot.

He said SECL’s Deputy General Manager (operations) S K Goswami and a worker died immediately after the accident around afternoon while another worker died on his way to the hospital. He said 14 injured were admitted to the local hospital while seriously injured have been referred to a specialty hospital at Bilaspur being run in association with the SECL.

SECL Chief General Manager S S Mallahi, who felt uneasy after apparently inhaling Carbon Monoxide gas, too was rushed to the hospital. His condition is stated to be out of danger.

Meanwhile, local mining officials said the rescue operations were “slow” as the air quality inside the mine was not within the permissible limit as per the safety norms so that rescue team members could enter the mine. Air inside the mine is being continuously monitored by the team, who are also carrying all necessary safety equipments.

SECL spokesman Alok Sinha said rescue operations were still continuing in the Anjani hill mine where such a gas leak took place for the first time. “All the mines of SECL in this region are considered as non-gas mines. Mining experts will inquire into the circumstances once the coal debris is removed”, he added.

“Mining activities in the Anjani Hill mine was suspended a couple of day ago after noticing gas leak. The team of mining officials and workers were on their job to plug the gas leak when the blast took place”, Sinha said the reason for the blast was yet to be ascertained.



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