An explosion of methane gas collapsed a coal mine in Iran, killing more than 35 people and trapping others underground, according to Iranian state media. Many of those who died had rushed into help miners who were trapped.
Wednesday’s blast was caused when workers tried to jump-start a locomotive, Reuters reports. IRNA, the Islamic Republic News Agency, says that according to Labor Minister Ali Rabiei, the blast occurred when workers changed the battery of the locomotive, creating a spark:
“‘There were some technical difficulties with the batteries in the depth of 700 meters and changing the batteries was carried out inside the tunnel rather than outside of it and that triggered the explosion,’ Rabiei said on Thursday.”
The tunnel was filled with methane, reports the Tasnim News Agency. PressTV reported that 25 people were taken to the hospital due to gas inhalation. The explosion happened during a shift change at the mine, which employs more than 500 workers in the Golestan province, near Iran’s northern border with Turkmenistan.
The FARS news agency reports that 21 of the casualties were miners “who were outside and rushed to help the trapped miners through a tunnel that collapsed. ” It says that 81 miners remain trapped more than a mile underground, and that aid workers are trying to keep them alive by pumping air down to them.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/05/04/526928321/35-reported-dead-in-iran-mine-explosion-others-remain-trapped