Wed May 3, 2017 11:32AM
This photo shows the aftermath of a mine explosion in the northeastern Iranian province of Golestan on May 3, 2017.
This photo shows the aftermath of a mine explosion in the northeastern Iranian province of Golestan on May 3, 2017.
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At least 26 miners have lost their lives and scores of others been injured as a result of a coal mine explosion in the northeastern Iranian province of Golestan.

The blast occurred on Wednesday afternoon after accumulation of methane gas at the coal mine triggered a blast, which led to the collapse of the mine, leaving scores of miners trapped.

On Thursday, authorities said 22 bodies had been recovered from the mine after it collapsed due to explosion near the provincial city of Azadshahr.

Four more bodies were recovered later in the day, bringing to 26 the death toll from the explosion.

Hours after the blast, Hamidreza Montazeri, deputy head of Golestan Province emergency, said 25 people, who had entered the mine to help the trapped miners, had been taken to hospital due to gas inhalation.

Earlier on Wednesday, managing director of the Red Crescent Society of Golestan Province, Hossein Ahmadi, said 21 people had been taken out of the mine.

The official stated that a secondary tunnel was being dug to facilitate access to trapped miners, noting that huge amounts of accumulated methane gas have made rescue operations difficult.

A local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the explosion happened while workers were changing shifts.

Later on Wednesday, Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran's Emergency Center, corrected earlier reports about the number of miners trapped in the collapsed mine. Noting that the exploded mine consisted of two sections, he added that 40 miners were trapped at one section of the coal mine, while 30-40 others were trapped at another section.

“One of the injured miners is in critical condition and other injured miners are being treated for asphyxiation,” Kolivand said.

Rescue workers carry a man injured during a mine explosion in the northeastern Iranian province of Golestan. (Photo by ISNA)

Kolivand added that the mine blast had injured 30 people, of whom nine had been hospitalized in Azadshahr and the rest sent to three hospitals in the provincial capital city of Gonbad.

Latest reports said the governor general of Golestan Province was at the site of the mine collapse and personally oversaw rescue operations. 

َAuthorities declared three days of mourning in the province, beginning on Thursday.