Rescuers in Nicaragua working to reach trapped gold miners after 11 freed overnight
The freelance miners were trapped when tunnels collapsed at El Comal
Saturday 30 August 2014
Rescuers in Nicaragua are working to reach miners still trapped in a gold mine 24 hours after it collapsed.
The first 11 workers were freed on Friday night, walking out to cheers from relatives and fellow miners, but 13 are still underground.
Part of the El Comal gold and silver mine in the town of Bonanza collapsed on Thursday, cutting off men in a shaft.
One of the rescued miners, Marvin Urbina, said they saw an avalanche of mud and rock hurtling towards them and clung onto the walls of the mine as several colleagues were crushed.
“I asked God to let me live and he listened to me and now I will serve Him,” the 34-year-old told US Channel 6.
Nicaragua’s Interior Vice Minister, Carlos Najar, said the miners were dehydrated but in good health.
“They are coming out little by little, it's a slow process but we want to make sure they can get out safely,” he said.
A rescued miner is evacuated from the El Comal gold and silver mine Earlier, authorities said 20 of the 24 miners had been located and had communicated with rescuers.
Hundreds of relatives and fellow miners had gathered to pray outside the mine as rescuers lined up ladders along a 60-metre long tunnel leading towards where the men were trapped.
The mine cuts into the side of a mountain and tunnels move upwards into the rock.
Javier Amaya, a commander of the rescue operation, said the rescue plan involved groups “of five or 10 miners entering the mine on wooden ladders, tying themselves off and going in until they reach them”.
Outside the mine, Jorge Hernandez, 25, said he learned his brother was one of the miners on television.
“We're praying to God with all of our souls so that my brother and the other men can be rescued alive and well,” he said.
It was unclear if he was one of the 11 miners rescued.
A miner enters the El Comal gold and silver mine to help with rescue operations after the landslide The gold and silver mine is operated by Colombian company Hemco but the trapped miners are freelancers allowed to work in the company's concession if they sell any gold they find to the firm.
A company spokesperson said they had been warned about the danger of working in the El Comal area, especially after two miners died in a landslide caused by rain last month.
“We live by extracting minerals from Hemco. They told us digging here was risky, but sometimes one is willing to risk it for a few more cents,” said Absalon Toledo, leader of the freelancers.
Hemco has mined in area since 1995, according to its website, and employs 532 workers who process 700 tonnes of material a day.
The company says it produces more than 1,150 kilograms of gold a year and is Nicaragua's 12th largest exporter.
Additional reporting by AP
- 1 Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
US blames Russia after rocket attacks in Ukraine kill at least 30
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...
£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...