Indonesia coal mine blast toll rises to 32 (Lead)

June 17th, 2009 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Jakarta, June 17 (DPA) The toll in a coal mine blast in Indonesia reached 32 Wednesday, with one miner still trapped in a 150-metre shaft and feared dead, officials said.
On Wednesday afternoon, rescuers pulled four more bodies from the West Sumatra mine, which collapsed after an explosion of methane gas the previous day, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the health ministry’s crisis centre in Jakarta.

Hours earlier, an official at the West Sumatra crisis centre said nine people were injured, most with serious burns. Eight victims were treated at a local hospital in Sawahlunto, while one was sent to the provincial capital of Padang, due to his serious condition.

Pakaya said rescue workers, comprising military and police officers as well as volunteers and miners were still searching for one more miner who remained trapped and feared dead.

A methane explosion collapsed the mine operated by private coal company PT Dasrat Sarana Tuesday, sending flames up to 50 metres in the air and leaving a huge crater on the surface.

Indonesia has some of the world’s largest coal deposits and the country is a major coal exporter. Sawahlunto is a coal mining hub and tourism destination.

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