Mexican coal mine: Rescue efforts continue for 10 miners

SABINAS, Mexico –

The round-the-clock pumping has slightly lowered the water level inside the flooded shafts of a coal mine where 10 mining workers are stranded in northern Mexico, but two days after the collapse, the water level is still too high for anyone to use. may seek a rescue, authorities said Friday.

National Civil Defense Coordinator Laura Velazquez said it was “indispensable” to reduce the amount of water in the mines 200 feet deep before divers or any other specialized personnel could enter. Workers are simultaneously trying to prevent new water from entering the shafts.

The mine in Sabinas, Coahuila, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas, collapsed while 15 miners were working inside on Wednesday afternoon. Five people try to escape with wounds. Authorities say that miners disrupted an adjacent space filled with water. There has been no contact with the miners since the collapse.

Javier Martinez, Coahuila state delegate for the National Union of Mining Workers, said the active mine area has a lot of old abandoned mines that are regularly flooded. He said locals sometimes get small concessions and then contract out groups of non-union miners to work, often without safety measures such as ventilation or escape shafts. safety and security equipment.

Such activities are not overseen by the Labor Secretary, he said.

“Accidents in such shabby operations often happen because miners work without a map, often with pneumatic hammers hitting old mine shafts filled with water,” he said.

In this case, the miner’s chances of survival are “complex” and will depend on the force on the water, the amount of mud it carries, whether it washes away the wooden supports holding the shaft walls, and whether accessible to miners. a nook with the air.

Elizabeth Vielma Moreno, a relative of one of the miners, said: “I thank God it is making progress, little by little, it is moving forward.

In June and July 2021, caves at two Coahuila mines claimed the lives of 9 miners.

Mexico’s worst mining accident also occurred in Coahuila on February 19, 2006, when an explosion tore through the Pasta de Conchos mine while 73 miners were inside. Eight people were treated with injuries including severe burns. The rest were dead and only two of their bodies were recovered.

Two years ago, the administration of Lopez Obrador promised to recover the remaining 63 bodies, a highly technical effort that has yet to begin.

Sanchez reports from Mexico City.

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