Search for trapped miners in Nicaragua suspended

September 2, 2014

Rescue teams Tuesday suspended efforts to reach seven trapped gold miners in Nicaragua because landslides were making the work too dangerous.

“Experts have to acknowledge it’s impossible” to keep going back into the mine, government spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said.

Mud and earth were pouring into the mine constantly and tearing down the wooden structures the rescue teams had built to try to shore up the pit.

In the four-day effort, rescuers had made 25 trips into the mine.

It first collapsed because of a landslide triggered by heavy rains, trapping 29 people early Thursday. Earlier reports had said 30.

Two of the trapped miners dug themselves back to the surface. Another 20 were hauled out one by one after 30 hours trapped inside the mine.

The mine shaft, in the remote village of El Comal, was abandoned more than 80 years ago by the foreign mining firms that operate in Nicaragua’s gold-rich northeast.

But it was reopened by “guiriseros,” or small-scale independent miners, a dangerous occupation that has boomed over the past decade as the price of gold has tripled from less than $400 an ounce to more than $1,200.

 

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