Three people have been left dead and two trapped after an illegal mine collapsed in southwestern Colombia Tuesday morning, according to local media.
Authorities have been trying to rescue those still trapped in the mine, which collapsed in the southwestern state of Nariño, and to retrieve any bodies interspersed with the rubble, reported Blu Radio.
So far, at least three people have been reported dead.
The mine was located in Santa Helena in the municipality of Roberto Payan. There have already been several accidents and collapses in illegal gold mines around this area, and the Department of Mines and Energy has scheduled a visit to Tumaco, the capital of Nariño, to meet with officials and representatives from mining groups, according to Blu Radio.
Mine collapses are a relatively frequent occurrence in Colombia due to the proliferation of unregulated and illegal mines operating throughout the country.
In March, an illegal mine collapsed in the nearby state of Cauca, trapping over 30 miners. Authorities then ruled out the possibility of there being survivors of the collapse.
Even in licensed mines, a lack of regulation can endanger worker safety. A recent report found that only 12% of the mining titles in the central state of Boyaca adhere to the law, and the proliferation of loosely operated mines throughout the country leads to frequent disasters.
Large-scale operations have also been responsible for widely documented environmental damages that have broad and lasting effects on nearby communities.