Freeport mine collapse toll climbs to nine

The death toll from an Indonesian mine collapse has risen to nine as rescuers retrieved the bodies of four more workers.

There are still nineteen other workers missing or feared dead. Ten injured workers were saved.

The Big Gossan underground training facility at Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine collapsed last Tuesday when 38 workers were training in a classroom.

The company said rescuers found three bodies overnight under tonnes of dirt and rock, the Courier Mail reported.

A fourth worker’s body was found late Sunday, according to Papua police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gede Sumerta Jaya said.

“There is no possibility of life five days after the cave in…this is really a heartbreaking accident,” he said.

The rescue process is being hampered by the need to stabilise the ground and roof due to falling rocks. Rescuers had seen six other people amongst the ruin and were attempting to rescue them, the company said in a statement.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has instructed Freeport and government agencies to thoroughly investigate the accident.

About 1000 workers have barricaded a main road about three kilometres away from the mine site to show support for the victims and to gain assurance of worker safety underground.

Image: AFP

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