35 killed in Iranian coal mine explosion

Tehran (Reuters): At least 35 miners have been killed and seventy people injured in an Iranian coal mine in the outskirts of Azadshahr city in Gulestan province.

According to official, blast took place due to gas leakage. Rescue teams have retrieved dead bodies of victims from the mine and more than 30 of the injured were transferred to nearby hospitals.

The mine has 500 workers and the explosion happened during a change of shift, Fars reported.

President Hassan Rouhani has sent Minister of Labour and Welfare to the mine in order to oversee the rescue operations and treatment of victims, state news agency IRNA reported.

Iran extracted 1.68 million tons of coal in 2016, an increase on previous years, thanks to an easing of international sanctions. It uses most in domestic steel production and exports only a fraction.