Nine dead in Colombian coal mine flood

Nine miners are feared dead after floods trapped them in an underground coal mine earlier this week.

The miners have been trapped since Wednesday afternoon local time, CNN reports.

While rescue workers had found some of the miners’ belongings "it seems the miners are dead," Colombian Police area commander Mauricio Marin said.

The incident occurred at the El Desespero coal mine.

While the cause of the flood is not yet known, it is believed to have been caused by a rupturing subterranean water deposit which inundated the shaft 200 metres underground.

Only one miner is known to have escaped – Norberto Isaias Ruiz Quintero.

Quintero told Caracol TV "we were working, and a burst of water dragged us all, and I could only save myself. The water dragged all of us, and the mine was flooded".

According to the Colombian Geological Survey (Ingeominas) the operation at El Desespero was illegal, however this was refuted by the owner Arnulfo Velasquez, who claimed the mine had the correct insurance and papers.

The mine is located around 245 kilometres northwest of Colombia’s capital Bogota.


Image: El Colombiano


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