Nine trapped miners rescued after Peru cave-in


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The Independent US

Nine miners have been rescued after spending five days trapped in a collapsed gold and copper mine in Peru.

The men had been stuck over 650 feet below ground in the collapsed Cabeza de Negro mountainside shaft, 175 miles southeast of Lima.

They have been communicating with rescuers, and receiving liquid and oxygen, via a giant hosepipe which had been in place since before the mine collapsed.

"All of them are healthy but obviously dehydrated and dizzy," Peru's President Ollanta Humala said.

"They need to get used to the sun still, that's why they are wearing sunglasses."

Miner Jesus Japatinta said he was overwhelmed after walking out alive, adding "I spilled tears, happy tears".

Several tonnes of earth and rock had blocked the entrance to the horizontal mine-shaft, which being used informally and was last commercially worked in the 1980s. It is thought the mine collapsed after a blast set my the miners themselves.

The collapse has heightened concerns about mining safety in Peru.

On Monday, former Deputy Environment Minister said Peru does not have a specialised team for mining rescue, despite the industry accounting for 60 per cent of its exports.

Peru is the world’s second biggest copper exporter, and ranks sixth in exports of gold.

Informal mining is thought to generate as much as $2 billion a year in Peru.

Humala, who was present during the rescue operation, warned informal miners to stay away from abandoned mines like Cabeza de Negro, saying they were dangerous.

He also urged informal companies to register their workers and improve safety measures.

According to official figures, 52 miners died in work-related accidents in Peru last year. A third of them died in mine shaft collapses.