Increased efforts to reach 10 coal miners trapped in Mexico
MEXICO CITY — Efforts to rescue 10 miners trapped in a collapsed and flooded coal mine in northern Mexico intensified on Thursday with hundreds taking part in the operation, authorities said.
The collapse occurred after miners punctured a nearby area filled with water on Wednesday, officials said. Authorities have not reported any contact with the trapped miners since the tunnel collapse occurred.
Deputy Defense Minister Agustín Rádiala Suástegui said the miners were trapped between two 200-foot-deep mines that were more than half submerged in water. Rescuers are working to pump water out of the flooded mine.
A National Guard aircraft is expected to arrive on Thursday along with six task force divers, who can enter the mine when conditions permit.
Civil Defense Coordinator Laura Velázquez said that five miners managed to escape the tunnel collapse. Three of them are still hospitalized. Authorities initially reported nine miners stranded on Wednesday, but adjusted that number to 10 on Thursday.
The mine is in Sabinas, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas. The mine started operating this year and local authorities said they have not received any complaints or reports of previous incidents.
In June and July 2021, caves at two Coahuila mines claimed the lives of 9 miners.
Mexico’s worst mining accident also occurred in Coahuila on February 19, 2006, when an explosion tore through the Pasta de Conchos mine while 73 miners were inside. Eight people were treated with injuries including severe burns. The rest were dead and only two of their bodies were recovered.
López Obrador’s administration had promised two years ago to recover the remaining 63 bodies, a highly technical effort that has yet to begin.
The Pasta de Conchos Family Foundation, made up of relatives of those who lost their lives in the tragedy, said in a statement late Wednesday that the new mining accident presented structural hazards that led to the collapse. The spill of Pasta de Conchos remains unresolved. Lack of checks, complicity with miners and little protection of workers.
They called on the government to do everything it can to rescue the miners and review the mining conditions in the area.