Bodies of 3 Myanmar Workers Killed in Mine Collapse Found

By Zarni Mann 27 August 2019

MANDALAY—The bodies of two coal miners killed in Sunday’s collapse of a coal mine in Magwe Region’s Minhla Township were recovered on Tuesday, and a third had been located.

“Two bodies were recovered from the debris [on Monday] night. Another body is buried under a pile of soil and rescuers are still trying to exhume it,” said U Myint Zaw, Magwe Region’s minister of natural resources and environmental conservation.

The coal mine operated by the Inngyin Taung mining company collapsed on Sunday evening after heavy rains caused it to flood.

Four miners—Ko Aung Chan Thar (16), Ko Naing Htet Oo (20) and Ko Soe Aung (19) of Min Hla Township, and Ko Paing Soe Win (28) of Ann Township—were trapped in the 600-foot-deep pit.

Rescue workers tried to pump the water out and entered the pit in an effort to find the missing miners. However, they only found the bodies of three of the men.

“We are investigating the incident and checking to see whether the company followed the rules and regulations. Meanwhile, we will suspend the mine’s activities,” the minister said.

According to the minister, most coal mines in the area ceased operations in recent days due to the heavy rain. However, Inngyin Taung continued to operate with about 40 miners.

“Workers told investigators that a pond located on a hill burst its banks, sending a mass of water flowing into the pit. They ran out of the pit but the four could not escape as the mine collapsed,” the minister said.

The minister said the investigation team, which was sent from Naypyitaw, had taken control of the scene. If the company was found to have violated safety measures or any other mining rules and regulations, it could be suspended from mining in the region, he said.

Coal mine accidents are common in the region. In September 2018, an explosion at a coal mine in Saw Township, Magwe Division, killed eight miners.

There are about 40 small and medium-sized coal mines operated by nine mining companies in the Minhla coal mining area, producing a total of about 2,000 tons of coal per month.

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