Four miners dead in Ecuador

Thursday, October 21, 2010

QUITO - Four miners who had been trapped in an Ecuadorian gold mine for close to a week were found dead, Ecuadorian media reported Thursday quoting the authorities.

“Rescue efforts have ended with a tragic balance. The four miners have died,” the daily El Comercio quoted Carlos Pareja Yanuzzelli, vice minister for Non-Renewable Natural Resources, as saying.

The news had a touch of poignancy, coming just a week after the world celebrated the spectacular release of 33 miners who were trapped 700 metres underground for over two months in northern Chile.

“We did everything we could, the miners who helped in solidarity also did what they could. Unfortunately yesterday every progress we had made was lost due to new collapses,” he said late Wednesday.

Emergency services authorities in the town of Portovelo said that the shaft where the miners were working collapsed early Friday under a rush of water.

The bodies of two miners were found Saturday. They reportedly died in the initial collapse of the mine.

On Wednesday, the bodies of the remaining two were found around 180 metres underground, precisely where the authorities had hoped to find them alive. The two men reportedly died only hours before their bodies were found.

The Casa Negra gold mine is about 400 kilometres southwest of Quito, and it has been operated by the firm Minesadco since 2004 with 150 employees.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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