At least four miners have been killed and an estimated 13 others are missing and feared dead after a methane gas explosion ripped apart a coal mine near the Pakistani city of Quetta.
Police official Wajeet Khan said the blast occurred on August 12 in the village of Sanjdi, some 50 kilometers east of Quetta.
Four bodies have been retrieved but other miners are missing and feared dead. The number of miners involved has differed in several Pakistani news reports.
The rescue operation has been hindered by the gas leak, the police official said.
The country has suffered many coal-mine disasters, a situation that critics have blamed on poor safety measures.
In May, at least 23 miners were killed in accidents triggered by a methane gas explosion at a coal mine in western Pakistan.
A cave-in at a mine in Marwaarh, east of Quetta, killed 16 miners. Seven more were killed in a landslide at another mine nearby.
The Pakistan Central Mines Labor Federation has said that an average of 200 miners a year die in accidents.