March 25, 2023

Gustavo Petro says regardless of rescue efforts, 10 miners who had been trapped underground after an explosion have died.

The loss of life toll from an explosion at a sequence of related coal mines in central Colombia has risen to 21, President Gustavo Petro says, after large-scale rescue efforts to free 10 miners who have been trapped underground had failed.

“Regardless of all of the efforts of the rescue groups, sadly 21 individuals misplaced their lives on this tragic accident in Sutatausa,” a city 74km (46 miles) north of the capital, Bogota, Petro mentioned in a tweet on Thursday morning.

“All my solidarity to their households,” the president wrote.

A day earlier, Cundinamarca Governor Nicolas Garcia advised Blu Radio that at the least 11 miners had died within the blast, which occurred late on Tuesday attributable to an accumulation of gases that exploded after a employee’s instrument prompted a spark. It unfold via the related, authorized mines.

9 miners have been in a position to escape, however 10 have been trapped 700 to 900 meters (2,300 to three,000 toes) underground, Garcia advised reporters on Wednesday.

Greater than 100 rescue employees have been deployed to free them.

“My because of … every one of many rescuers who throughout these two days gave themselves physique and soul to the rescue work in Sutatausa,” Garcia wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.

“Our hearts are damaged,” he mentioned,

People wait as rescue operations continue after a coal mine blast in Colombia
Folks wait through the search and rescue work following an explosion of a mine in Sutatausa, Colombia, March 15, 2023 [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

Colombia is house to quite a few open and underground gold and coal mines. Explosions and different incidents happen ceaselessly, principally at operations which might be unlawful or don’t undertake adequate security measures.

The South American nation has reported 1,260 mining incidents from 2011 to Might 2022 and an annual common of 103 deaths, in keeping with official figures. In 2021, 148 deaths have been recorded.

Essentially the most severe latest incident occurred in June 2010 when 73 individuals have been killed in a mine explosion within the northwest.

In August, 9 miners have been rescued from a collapsed unlawful coal mine in Cundinamarca.

On Thursday, Colombia’s president mentioned, “Every work fatality shouldn’t be solely a enterprise failure but additionally a social and governmental one.”

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