It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
(visit the link for the full news article)
AN explosion likely caused by a methane gas build-up has ripped through an underground coal mine in Colombia, killing 21 workers, officials say.
The explosion ripped through La Preciosa mine in Sardinata, about 400 kilometres northeast of the capital, Bogota, early Wednesday morning local time (last night AEDT).
Five of the victims died at the mine's entrance and by Wednesday afternoon two bodies had been removed from the mine with another 14 left to recover, said the provincial Colombian Red Cross director, Johel Enrique Rodriguez.
Read more: www.news.com.au...
He told The Associated Press rescuers had seen the rest of the bodies, which he said were covered in burns and scattered throughout the kilometre-long tunnel that extended horizontally beneath a verdant mountain. Meanwhile, Agence France-Presse reported that 11 miners had been killed and 10 were missing and feared dead, but officials with the Colombian Institute of Geology and Mines (known as Ingeominas) held out little hope the remaining miners were still alive. Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar. Related Coverage * 11 dead in coal mine blast The Daily Telegraph, 5 hours ago * Four dead, 13 trapped in coal mine NEWS.com.au, 7 hours ago * China coal mine explosion leaves 26 dead NEWS.com.au, 8 Dec 2010 * Buried treasure (Nov 30) Herald Sun, 30 Nov 2010 * Fourth mine blasts families' hopes Herald Sun, 28 Nov 2010 End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar. make your own news service on igoogle "Because of the scope of the disaster, it is impossible that they survived," a spokesman for the institute, which sent rescue teams to the scene, told AFP. It was not immediately clear how many miners were trapped because the blast happened during a 6.30am shift change, said Alvaro Silva, a senior Sardinata municipal official. Gabriel Tamayo, manager of La Preciosa mine, would not speculate on the cause. But Colombian Red Cross rescue chief Carlos Ivan Marquez said preliminary indications pointed to a methane gas buildup. Provincial Governor William Villamizar also told RCN radio a methane blast "exploded like a cannon shot, creating a flame inside the mine". Such a blast "is like a kind of cannon shot and creates a flame within the mine and obviously has tragic consequences", Mr Villamizar said. Civil defence teams, firefighters and military personnel were at the scene helping in rescue efforts, Mr Villamizar said. "But we understand that it is very difficult to survive an explosion of that nature," he said. A methane buildup was believed to have caused an explosion at the same mine in 2007 that killed 32 miners. Six miners were killed and two others were injured in a similar accident in the mine in October 2010. The mine met legal safety requirements, said Edgar Fabian Morales, national safety co-ordinator for Ingeominas. But the Ministry of Mining and Energy said it would be shut down, at least temporarily, and Mining Minister Carlos Rodado went to La Preciosa to meet with its managers and victims' families. The mine was closed for five months after the fatal 2007 blast so a larger ventilation system could be installed for the expulsion of methane. "I refuse to work here any longer," miner Luis Chacon told RCN television at the scene on Wednesday. He called La Preciosa "a killer mine". Tamayo said La Preciosa mine produced 3000 tonnes of coal a month. Last year, Colombia became the world's fifth largest coal exporter after Indonesia, Australia, Russia and South Africa. It produced 75 million tonnes of coal in 2010, according to government figures. Nearly 100 coal miners were killed in work-related accidents across Colombia in 2010, according to government figures. Geologist and mining industry expert Julio Fierro Morales said the Colombian government lacked resources to properly monitor mine safety. "It is possible to diminish the frequency and probability of these accidents in Colombia with gas detectors and measures to prevent mine shaft collapses," Fierro Morales said. In June last year, 73 miners were killed in a blast at a coal mine in Amaga, a town in the northwestern province of Antioquia. In November, nine miners died in two different accidents in Cundinamarca state in central Colombia. - With AP Read more: www.news.com.au...