3 dead, 30 buried in Colombia mine collapse

2014-05-02 07:53

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Bogota - At least three people were killed and as many as 30 more are feared dead after a mine collapse in western Colombia, rescue officials said on Thursday.

"We arrived at the scene and managed to remove three bodies," said Victor Claros, head of the fire-fighters in the Colombia's Cauca state, where the disaster took place.

He added, speaking to Caracol Radio, that two more people extracted from the mine had been taken to hospital.

But Claros could offer little hope for those who were not pulled to safety initially after the cave-in, saying that some of the workers were buried under 20m of earth.

"It is impossible that anyone could have survived," Claros said. "There is too much earth and rocks and mud."

Claros said the accident happened at a mine outside the city of Santander de Quilichao, where independent mine workers were excavating the mine without authorisation.

Colombia has more than 14 000 mines, more than half of which operate without proper permits, officials said.

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