06/17/2009, 00.00
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West Sumatra: 27 die in an illegal mine

The incident was caused by an explosion of methane gas that collapsed the mine. Shafts with lifeless bodies without oxygen. Safety measures completely absent.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Twenty seven miners are dead and more that ten missing after an explosion at a coal mine in Sawah Lunto (West Sumatra), run by the local inhabitants.   Authorities report that the explosion was caused by gas methane. The force of the explosion sent flames 50 metres high into the air leaving a huge gaping hole in the earth where the coal mine used to be.  Bodies recovered so far were found at a depth of 150 metres; rescue teams are being forced to work with oxygen masks because of pockets of carbon dioxide.

Health officials say that 16 people were extracted from the mine but that 8 later died from severe burns.

According to witnesses, the victims were using traditional methods to dig without any safety measures.  Indonesia is the second largest coal exporter after Australia. This allows many miners to earn good salaries, but there are few security guidelines and instruments are primitive.

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See also
Mine disaster in Turkey: More than 200 dead, hundreds of workers trapped underground
Massacre of miners in Shaanxi, Henan, Shanxi
Sichuan, 19 miners killed, 28 still trapped in a tunnel
Explosion in Chinese coal mine: At least 26 miners dead
Death toll from Hegang mine rises to 107


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