On Wednesday, Colombian authorities reported that at least 11 people died after the explosion of coal mines in Sutatausa town in the Cundinamarca department.
Colombian President Marks Position Regarding the Mining Strike
President Gustavo Petro confirmed the number of diseased people and expressed solidarity with their families. "A regrettable tragedy. We are making every effort with local authorities to rescue the trapped people alive,” he stated.
The explosion, which was generated by the accumulation of methane gas and carbon dust, affected the El Hoyo, Lucero, and La Esperanza mines, where about 30 miners extracted coal manually at the time of the accident.
“These mines are interconnected, so the explosion affected all of them,” Cundinamarca Fire Department Captain Alvaro Farfan explained, adding that seven miners escaped the mines by their means, but another ten remain missing.
"I was out on a break. I thought the world was over. I will never forget the explosion,” miner Juan Quiros recalled, stressing that he and some other partners are supporting the rescue operations.
Firefighters and members of the National Mining Agency, Red Cross and Civil Defense lead the rescue efforts, which have been complicated due to the persistence of gas in the mines.
El Espectador media reported that the mines where the emergency was registered are legal and have all permits in order.
“The area’s mining title was issued in November 2002 and is valid until 2032,” it stressed, adding that authorities are investigating what may have caused the gas concentration.