KUCHING: The Selantik coal mine in Sri Aman has been ordered to be temporarily closed following an explosion at its underground tunnel last Saturday.
State Fire and Rescue Department director Nor Hisham Mohammad said the measure would also include checking for potential presence of Methane gas inside the tunnel.
“A thorough checking will also be conducted on the wiring system. Apart from that, we need to get more details and verification from the coal mine operator.
“I was told that he was overseas but he had rushed back after learning about this incident.
“We therefore are using our authority to seal the place for three days,” he said during a press conference at the department’s operations centre in Tabuan Jaya here yesterday.
Nor Hisham also said such precaution was crucial following attempts by the mine workers to turn on water pumps inside the tunnel.
“Methane gas can easily be present in the coal mine. We need to ascertain the condition of the wiring system (of the water pumps or the fan). There have been attempts (by workers) to turn on the equipment but we are afraid that this may trigger another explosion,” he said, adding that he would send his men to the site and access the whole area.
On the victims, Nor Hisham said one had been transferred from Sri Aman Hospital to Sarawak General Hospital here while another two were taken to Sibu Hospital from a private facility here.
“Three victims who are still in the intensive care unit (ICU) will be sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu.”
The early Saturday incident claimed the lives of Kardianto, 38, from Indonesia; Tun Tun Win, 36, from Myanmar and Pang Chung Hyok, 29, from North Korea.
All the victims managed to run out from the mine but the three who died were said to have consumed water which affected their internal organs due to the intense heat of their bodies.