Death toll in Colombian mine blast reaches 20

13:53, June 18, 2010      

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The death toll in a coal mine blast in northwestern Colombia has reached 20 and over 50 others were still trapped underground, disaster relief officials said on Thursday.

Luz Amanda Pulido, director of disaster prevention, said the hope of finding survivors was "very dim."

Smoke was seen at the mine entrance after an explosion ripped through the mine early Thursday in Amaga town in northwestern Antioquia province, some 240 km northwest of the capital Bogota.

Antioquia's Governor Luis Alfredo Ramos said the blast was apparently caused by gas accumulation, which had also hampered relief efforts.

Ramos said the explosion took place while the workers were changing shifts at the 1,500-meter-deep mine.

Describing the incident as a "huge tragedy," Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said, "This is very serious. I tell Colombians this news with much pain."

The most serious accident in the coal-rich Amaga occurred in 1977, when as many as 86 miners working in another coal mine were killed in an explosion.

Source: Xinhua


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