A futher explosion on Thursday slowed the operation to rescue two miners trapped miners 180 feet below the surface in the La Esperanza mine, north-east Colombia.
The two men, Hernan Alfonso Barrera Pena and John Freddy Ordonez Trivino, were trapped on Wednesday when part of a tunnel collapsed, according to Caracol Radio.
Mining engineers are developing a parallel tunnel system to reach the sector where the workers might be, with efforts progressing slowly.
“We are working with a team of mining engineers 24 hours at the La Esperanza mine,” said Corone Luis Fernando Pineros, director of Sogamoso Civil Defense.
Tasco Mayor Edwin Javier Manrique told press that volunteers and the Red Cross are aiding the rescue effort. “There is hope they are alive,” the mayor said.
Mining accidents are common in Colombia, which has numerous coal and gold mines, many illegal.
The news follows Chile’s successful rescue of 33 coal miners who were trapped below ground for more than two months.