A powerful explosion in a coal mine in central Colombia that affected four other mines linked by tunnels has killed at least 11 people and left 10 others missing, the government said Wednesday.
President Gustavo Petro said on his Twitter account that rescuers were making every effort to reach the trapped miners.
The blast, which was attributed to a build up of methane gas, took place Tuesday night in the municipality of Sutatausa in Cundinamarca province.
Cundinamarca Gov. Nicolás García Bustos initially reported four deaths with two people recovered alive and 17 still trapped in the mine.
But Álvaro Farfán, captain of the Cundinamarca fire department, told local media the explosion affected five mines interconnected by tunnels, generating a “chain" blast with a wider impact.
Petro later raised the death toll to 11. Energy and Mines Minister Irene Vélez said 10 people were still trapped in the mines.
The blast occurred when the highly explosive methane gas ignited, Vélez said.
Explosions, landslide and other emergencies are common in Colombian coal mines.