At least 11 miners died and another ten were reported trapped after a series of explosions in a mine in central Colombia.
The accident took place in Sutatausa, a municipality some 50 kilometers northeast of the capital Bogota, on Tuesday evening.
According to local authorities, more than 30 miners were working underground at the time of the time of the explosions that were blamed on accumulations of gas.
Four of the miners working at the time of the explosions were able to escape.
The commander of the fire department of the Cundinamarca province told local media that an explosion in one of the mine shafts triggered a “chain reaction” in four other shafts.
Cundinamarca Governor Nicolas Garcia said Wednesday morning that rescue operations were ongoing.
President Gustavo Petro confirmed the “regrettable tragedy” and said that both national and regional authorities “are doing what we can to rescue the trapped people alive.”
According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, the Sutatausa coalmine is one of hundreds in Cundinamarca and the neighboring Boyaca province.
Substandard security conditions in Colombia’s poorly regulated mining sector have caused dozens of deadly mining accidents in the past decades.