MAZAR-I-SHARIF/AIBAK (PAN): Twenty-seven workers have been killed during an explosion inside a coalmine in northern Samangan province, officials said on Sunday.
Five people have been missing and 30 others trapped in the mine in Ravi Do Aab district since Saturday's blast, the deputy police chief for Samangan said.
Col. Musadiq Muzaffari told Pajhwok Afghan News the exact toll was yet to be ascertained. He linked the incident to the unprofessional extraction of coal.
But the governor's spokesman, Siddiqullah Azizi, said 48 people had been trapped in the coalmine following the explosion. He put the toll at 27 dead and 20 injured, four of them critically.
A doctor at the district clinic, Mohammad, said 25 bodies had been pulled out of the mine so far. Efforts were ongoing to rescue another five trapped inside the pit, he added.
Ibadullah Mujahid, the district's administrative head, said the blast in Aab Khorak area had left up to 40 people stranded and some others poisoned. Policemen are trying to rescue the men who are still caught in the mine.
Dr. Najibullah, in charge of the district clinic, confirmed receiving 20 injured people from the site. Eight of them are said to be in serious condition.