Authorities suspended a search Saturday for two miners trapped for four days in a coal mine in central Colombia and reported the deaths of two miners in separate accidents.
The deaths highlighted the dangers that miners face daily despite last week’s spectacular rescue of 33 trapped miners in Chile.
The coal miners have been trapped some 60 meters (180 feet) underground since Tuesday after a cave-in at the La Esperanza mine near the town of Tasco in the province of Boyaca, 200 kilometers northeast of Bogota.
“We decided to suspend the rescue because while we were digging a third tunnel that we hoped would reach the miners, we detected a strong accumulation of gas,” said Hugo Bohorquez, the local civil defense chief.
“Because of that, and because the terrain is unstable, the risk of another cave-in is very high and continuing would put the rescuers in danger,” he said.
Bohorquez said the chances of finding the miners alive were “minimal.”
Meanwhile, the government reported the deaths of two other miners in recent days in separate incidents.
In one, a miner was killed and another injured in a gas explosion at the El Socavon mine in the northwestern province of Caldas.
The second death occurred Friday when a man was killed by a rock slide in the Eustaquio Dos gold mine, near the town of Topaga in Boyaca, the government said. (AFP)