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Search ends for people trapped in Nicaragua mine collapse


Rescuers try to reach a group of trapped gold miners in the community of El Comal, near Bonanza in northeastern Nicaragua, on August 29, 2014 (AFP Photo/Inti Ocon)<br />

Authorities in Nicaragua called off the search for people trapped in the collapse of an unlicensed gold mine in the country’s south.

Two bodies had already been pulled from the debris, and up to 16 others had reportedly been trapped after the accident in the La Esperanza region, more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) southeast of the capital Managua.


The two victims, identified as Israel Sequeira and Santos Herrera, were from the Rio San Juan department, local government official Johnny Gutierrez told official website 19 Digital.

“Despite the rescue work, no other fatalities have been found,” said the National System for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention of Disasters, via 19 Digital, announcing that the search was over.

The agency made no mention of others reportedly trapped in the mine.

“It will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the police to continue the necessary investigations into this type of accident,” it said.


Local media reported that anywhere from seven to 18 miners were trapped when the rain-soaked hillside collapsed.

Amaru Ruiz, director of the nonprofit Fundacion del Rio, said the rescuers “should have continued with the rescue work until they reached the floor where the miners were working.”

An estimated 3,000 people work in Nicaragua’s unlicensed mines.

Ruiz said the hillside was honeycombed by mining tunnels dug over the years on private property.


Months of rain — including the devastating passage last month of hurricanes Eta and Iota — had saturated and weakened the clay-like land, he added.

Landslides last month in northern Nicaragua claimed at least seven lives.


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