BOGOTA – At least 11 people have died after an explosion on Friday in two coal mines in the Colombian municipality of Cucunuba, in the central department of Cundinamarca, authorities informed on Saturday.
The blast also trapped 14 miners, left two missing and injured one.
“From the unified command post, we have confirmed with the National Mining Agency (ANM) that three more bodies have been sighted, at a depth of more than 450 meters,” Carlos Ivan Marquez, director of the National Risk and Disaster Management Unit (UNGRD), told reporters.
The official added that rescue work to locate the missing miners is ongoing.
“Fortunately, the technical and operational work is bringing results to alleviate the suffering of the families that are waiting for their loved ones,” Marquez added.
The president of the National Mining Agency (ANM), Silvana Habib Daza, told EFE that the rescue efforts are proceeding cautiously.
The president of the ANM announced that, after the rescue of the miners, an investigation will begin to clarify the cause of the accident in the mines of Cerezo and the Guasca, located in the hamlet of Pueblo Viejo, in the municipality of Cucunuba, where the explosion was apparently due to the accumulation of methane gas.
Habib further confirmed that both mines were illegally mining coal as they did not have environmental authorization to do so.
“We have identified that they are mines operating without the right conditions and legal authorizations,” she said.