At least 19 miners were killed and more than a dozen were still trapped on Tuesday after a rockslide at a marble quarry in northwest Pakistan, officials have said.
A huge boulder fell on the labourers in the Mohmand district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province overnight on Tuesday, local police chief Tariq Habib said. A senior official from Mohmand district, Hamid Iqbal, confirmed the death toll.
At least seven more bodies were retrieved from the rubble on Tuesday morning when the rescue was resumed after a brief pause, Habib said.
Twenty injured people were rescued, Muhammad Arif, the provincial minister for mines and minerals development, told AFP news agency.
At least 20 to 25 workers might still be trapped, local administration chief Iftikhar Ahmed said, amid fears that the death toll could rise.
The quarry is located in the Ziarat area of Mohmand, along the border with Afghanistan.
The area is known for its high-quality white marble, sold in Pakistan and exported to other countries.
Labourers often rest at the bottom of the mountains after long working hours.
Officials said an investigation was still under way to determine the cause of the cave-in.
Pakistan’s mines have a reputation for poor safety standards. Dozens of miners are killed each year in different safety-related incidents.
At least 43 miners were killed in the Sorange district of Balochistan in 2011 as a result of a blast at a coal mine.
In 2018, 16 miners were killed in a coal mine in Marwar, Baluchistan, after a methane gas explosion caused a roof to collapse.