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11 miners feared dead in Pakistan


At least 11 miners were feared dead after a landslide trapped them in a phosphate mine in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said.

The incident took place when miners were having lunch inside the mine in the mountainous Tarnawi area, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) northeast of the garrison city of Abbottabad, where US troops shot dead Osama bin Laden last May.

"It was a huge landslide. Eleven of them are trapped and their survival will be a miracle," Syed Imtiaz Hussain, the top government official in Abbottabad, told AFP.

Hussain said continuous rain was hampering rescue efforts.

Local police said the men who were trapped were poor labourers and that local residents were digging with shovels to help rescue them.

Mines in Pakistan are notorious for poor safety standards.

At least 43 workers were killed last March when explosions triggered a collapse in a coal mine in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.