12 men trapped in Colombia coal mine collapse

AP News
Posted: Oct 31, 2014 12:43 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A collapse deep in a coal mine trapped 12 workers in Colombia and officials said Friday that any rescue will be difficult.

The country's Ministry of Mines and Energy said the collapse occurred at about 4 p.m. Thursday with a sudden burst of water into the mine in the northwestern state of Antioquia. It said contamination in the air in the tunnels was beyond officially permitted levels and officials were trying to pump it out.

A specialized 20-person mine rescue team joined police, civil defense workers and firefighters at the scene some in Amaga, some 150 miles (240 kilometers) northwest of the capital, Bogota.

Antioquia Gov. Sergio Fajardo told reporters it is likely to take three days to reach the men.

"This work is very complicated. I have never seen a situation like this," he said. "The conditions are very precarious."

In a later Twitter post, the governor said the collapse occurred at a depth of 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet) when flooding occurred.

He said officials ordered the evacuation of other nearby mines.

Another mining accident in the same region in June 2010 killed more than 60 miners.