Vol. 5 Num 1034 Sun. April 29, 2007  
Front Page

Death in Coalmine
Probe body starts work, to place report in 7 days

A three-member probe committee yesterday started investigating the reasons behind the death of British consultant Albert Banes Davis and another consultant falling ill inside Barapukuria coalmine on Thursday.

The committee was asked to submit its report within seven days, Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Ltd (BCMCL) sources said. The probe body arrived at the mining site on Friday.

On Thursday, Petrobangla, parent organisation of BCMCL, formed the inquiry committee headed by General Manager (Mine Operation) Mohammad Moslem Ahmed, according to official sources.

Other members of the committee are Mortuza Faruk Ahmed Chisti, deputy general manager (environment and security) and Samsul Alam, a Petrobangla official.

Sheikh Abdur Rashid Khan, chairman of Petrobangla, arrived at the mining site on Friday afternoon and had several meetings on Friday and yesterday with the officials of CMC--the Chinese company that won the contract for mining--British consultants as well as officials and staffs of BCMCL.

The chairman expressed his concern over the incident, which claimed the life of Davis. He returned to Dhaka yesterday, officials said.

On Thursday, Davis, 62, died and Nicolas Sharon Woodburn, 26, also a British consultant, becoming ill after they went down 430 meters in the Barapukuria coalmine to examine how to resume production at a sealed-off part of the coalmine.

Official sources said a rescue team entered the mine after receiving a distress call from Nicolas that Davis was missing.

The team rescued both in unconscious state and sent them to nearby Syedpur Combined Military Hospital (CMH) where doctors declared Davis dead. Nick is undergoing treatment there.

Chinese company CMC developed the mine in 1994. It went into production in 2005.

A part of the mine developed a leakage of gas on September 30, 2005 and that part was sealed off. Petrobangla appointed a British consultant company to examine how production could be resumed in that part of the coalmine.