Rescue workers ended rescue efforts in central Colombia after recovering the bodies of 21 miners who were killed in underground explosions.
Two miners were rescued alive on Wednesday in an operation that began on Tuesday evening after a blast in one of the mines’ shaft triggered a series of explosions in other shafts.
Rescue workers hoped to find the miners in the town of Sutasausa alive who were believed to be trapped by the blasts alive, but failed.
The initial explosion was blamed on the ignition of gases that had accumulated in the north of the Cundinamarca province.
I have been with the families of the miners who were the victims of the unfortunate tragedy that occurred yesterday in Sutatausa since very early in the morning while supporting the search and rescue efforts. Unfortunately, none of them are alive. We are heartbroken.
Cundinamarca Governor Nicolas Garcia
President Gustavo Petro expressed his solidarity with the families of the victims of the deadliest mining disaster in Colombia so far this year.
According to authorities, the Sutatausa coalmine of the company Minas y Minerales Minminer has been in operation since 2002 and was licensed to continue mining until 2032.
The National Mining Agency temporarily suspended the license of he Cundinamarca company while investigating the exact causes of the deadly tragedy.
The mining operations is one of hundreds that operate in Cundinamarca and the neighboring Boyaca province that are both located on one of the cordilleras of the Andes mountains.
Mining accidents linked to substandard security conditions in Colombia’s poorly regulated mining sector have cost the lives of dozens of miners in the past decades.