Colombian authorities suspended rescue operations at the site of the San Fernando mine disaster, as conditions are deemed too dangerous, with threats of collapse and gas concentrations which could cause further explosions, reports Caracol Radio.
A total of 64 bodies have now been recovered from the mine. Nine people remain trapped in a deep section, around 2.6 kilometers below the entrance, five of whom are known to be dead. There are not expected to be any survivors.
Authorities say that the five bodies are ready to be brought to the surface, where they will be examined by forensic experts and identified before being buried in Amaga cemetery.
A massive explosion which blasted the mine on June 17 is thought to have been caused by a build-up of methane gas. A government-led investigation was opened Monday to identify the exact cause of the disaster.
At the time of the explosion, which occurred during a shift change, there were reportedly 160 people in the mine shaft, of whom 90 escaped and about 70 were trapped.
On Sunday Uribe met with family members of the deceased and trapped miners and pledged to provide for them. According to Uribe, local and national authorities have guaranteed the families the full support of the government, ensuring that they continue to receive salary payments and health care benefits.
This is the second accident at the San Fernando mine in three years. A similar incident occurred in 2008 trapping five people, one of whom died.