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'Methane gas accumulated which caused the deaths' Image Credit: Shutterstock

Quetta: At least 11 coalminers suffocated to death in a build-up of methane gas in a mine outside the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday, a government official said.

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The miners died in the Sanjdi coalfield, about 60 km (40 miles) from Quetta, according to Abdul Ghani Kakar, the chief inspector of mines for the provincial Balochistan government.

"Methane gas accumulated which caused the deaths," he said.

The miners were working about 1,500 feet (450 metres)underground and rescue teams retrieved their bodies after hours of work, he added.

The chief inspector said an inquiry has been ordered to work out the cause of the incident, and to see whether there was any negligence.