Four Trapped in Collapsed, Flooded Coal Mine in Central Myanmar

By Zarni Mann 26 August 2019

MANDALAY—Rescue workers were trying to get to four coal miners trapped in a collapsed mine in Satpyargon Village, in Magwe Region’s Minhla Township, as of late Monday afternoon.

According to police, the mine, operated by the Inn Gyin Taung mining company, collapsed Sunday evening due to heavy rain and the ensuing flooding in the mine.

“The water flowing into the 600-foot-deep pit trapped the miners there. Rescuers could not go into the flooded pit, but they are pumping out the waters now,” said an on-duty officer of the Minhla Township Police.

Ko Aung Chan Thar, 16; Ko Naing Htet Oo, 20; and Ko Soe Aung, 19, of Minhla Township; and Ko Paing Soe Win, 28, of Ann Township, were trapped when the mine collapsed.

“Some of the rescuer workers are going down into the pit to rescue the trapped miners. We are still waiting for the news. We hope the miners are safe,” the officer said.

Coal mine accidents are common in Myanmar. In September 2018, an explosion at a coal mine in Magwe Region’s Saw Township killed eight miners. In May this year, another accident at a coal mine in Kyet Pa Nat village, in Sagaing Region’s Kale township, killed four and injured another four.

In August last year, five miners including a Chinese technician were trapped and killed when a gas explosion collapsed a coal pit in the Thit Chauk coalmining area of Kalewa Township, Sagaing Region.

There are about 40 coal mines in Magwe Region’s Minhla, Saw, Pauk and Minbu townships, operated by 14 mining companies across 4,500 acres, according to data from the Magwe Regional Government.

In Minhla Township alone, nine coalmining companies produce about 2,000 tons of coal a month.

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