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In Iran, rescuers work to free 3 coal miners, IRNA reports

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The accident occurred in southeastern Iran, IRNA says
  • Three miners are trapped, it says
  • No outside help is requested, it says

(CNN) -- Rescuers in southeastern Iran are working to free three coal miners trapped after a mine collapse earlier this week, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, citing a local government official.

The incident occurred Tuesday in the Hejdak coal mine near the town of Ravar and the city of Kerman, it said.

Rescuers have brought the body of one miner to the surface from a depth of 600 meters. Because of coal powder in the mine, rescuers have to operate very slowly and carefully, IRNA said.

Farajollah Arefi, the Ravar governor, said the mine goes deep into a mountain and the rescuers must crawl along a tunnel they have dug to reach the three.

Rescuers from other cities and countries haven't been sought out "because of the unique nature of coal mines and the fact that mining conditions and methods vary from mine to mine," IRNA said, citing the governor. A Ukrainian specialist is helping at the scene, however.

There was no indication of human error or faulty equipment, IRNA said, citing the governor.

Arefi told IRNA that experienced miners say this type of accident is very rare. On the other hand, Gholamreza Karami, a member of parliament from Kerman, was quoted by IRNA as saying, "Unfortunately, this kind of accident happens every year at coal mines. A similar accident happened at this very same mine in December 2009."

Four miners died in that accident.