Work progresses to rescue trapped miners in Colombia

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The rescue efforts of the 14 Colombian miners trapped in a coal mine continued on Wednesday against the clock, indicated the organizations that carry out the operations to save the miners.

According to Catalina Gheorghe, who leads the search operation of the state-owned National Mining Agency (ANM), since the start of operations, 70 percent progress has been made in terms of distance to the point where the miners are presumed to be at the moment of explosion.

About 50 rescuers are trying to descend some 200 meters underground to find the trapped miners.

Gheorghe estimates that if the advance continues, rescuers could arrive in the early hours of Thursday at the point where the miners are presumed to be.

“We are looking for people with the hope that they are alive. But it was a very strong explosion in which there were high temperatures, very high pressures and high concentrations of carbon monoxide,” explained the person in charge of the rescue.

The causes of the explosion inside the coal mine in the Colombian municipality of Zulia, department of Norte de Santander, are still under investigation, although the authorities indicated that the accident could be due to the concentration of methane gas that It generated an explosion, a subsequent fire and a collapse.

One of the workers who was outside the mine at the time of the explosion died on Wednesday from severe burns. The victim was the person in charge of pulling the wagons that came from the interior loaded with coal.

The secretary of mines of Norte de Santander, Jhon Olivares, reported that the mine had the permits to operate, despite the fact that its work was suspended on March 27, 2021 due to another accident that kept it closed until May of this year.

In 2021, Colombia registered at least 148 deaths in mining accidents.



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