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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mexico: Divers to help rescue stranded miners

SABINAS, Mexico ( Associated Press) – Ten miners were trapped Thursday in a coal mine in northern Mexico as several hundred military and civilian agents intensified rescue efforts and a group of divers waited for search operations to arrive.

Among those involved in the rescue efforts is Alfredo Torres, a cousin of one of the trapped miners and who joined the team as a volunteer on Wednesday.

Wearing a plastic helmet and with his clothes and shoes filled with mud, Torres said on Wednesday afternoon he began using small pumps to draw water from the wells and was able to enter looking for miners, a task What has been done is very complicated as wells are still filled with water for several hours after the water has been removed.

“No one can enter. We have to first try to get all the water out, get it out, so that they can come in … to save the comrades,” the volunteer told the press, adding that they haven’t been able to communicate yet. are miners or hear any noise that may indicate to them where they are or if they are alive.

Via social networks, some relatives of the miners, such as Marifili Rodriguez, prayed for their brother, José Miralles, who is trapped in the mine. “God is in your blessed hands the lives of the miners,” Rodriguez said on his Facebook account.

Miners were trapped in a sinkhole at the “Las Conchas” mine in the municipality of Sabinas in the northern state of Coahuila, which collapsed on Wednesday afternoon when the men fell into a nearby area filled with water, causing a flood of three . well

During the morning presidential conference, the national coordinator for civil defense, Laura Velázquez, reported that five of the 15 miners working at the site managed to escape and were taken to a health center after presenting injuries. Three are hospitalized.

Under Secretary of the National Defense Secretariat, General Agustin Radiala Sustegui, said the miners were trapped between two 60 meters deep coal pits, which were filled with 34 meters of water.

As part of the rescue efforts, the security forces are working to drain and pump the wells.

In the next few hours, a National Guard aircraft with six special forces divers is expected to arrive, who will enter the wells to rescue the miners, the official said.

More than 24 hours after the accident, several relatives of the miners were sitting under a tree around the mine – which was closed and is guarded by armed police and military – waiting to receive news from the miners.

Engineer Francisco Avalos, the Under Secretary of State Civil Defense, told the press that they are actively working on draining the water to gain access to the wells for rescue forces.

A few meters from the mine, an improvised chapel for relatives was established.

From the outskirts of the mine, the bishop of the diocese of the northern city of Piedras Negras, Alonso Garza, complained about the poor working conditions of the miners and asked the authorities and merchants for “respectable safety conditions” for the workers. , “Every time a misfortune happens, they say ‘yes now’ and unfortunately no now,” he said.

Some 269 agents from military forces and other security forces participate in rescue efforts.

“I want with all my soul that we save the miners,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said at the end of his morning conference, in which he called on various organizations to report whether they had any further action to send to Coahuila. There are large drainage pumps to support. in mine.

López Obrador indicated that the priority is to rescue the miners and that a subsequent inspection would be conducted to determine exploitation permits and responsibilities.

The representative of the National Union of Mining Workers in Coahuila, Javier Martínez, told The Associated Press that the location where the accident occurred corresponds to the area where old mines used to stop working years ago, and Where small work with the help of concessionaire. A small group of miners, not unionized, work in so-called “positos” without safety measures such as a ventilation system, another emergency exit shaft, safety equipment, and the supervision of the Ministry of Labor.

Martínez explained that accidents are very common in “Pokitos” because miners work in those places without maps and that many times during their excavations, which they do with the help of pneumatic guns, they run into the walls of old mines. , which is always full of water, which when broken generates great floods.

Regarding the possibility that ten miners could come out alive, Martinez said that it is “very complicated”, adding that everything will depend on the force with which the water flows in the wells, the soil with which the current is drawn. Yes, if they fall. The wooden structures that supported the walls of the mine, or if the miners managed to get a nook to go inside.

Between June and July last year, two mines in Coahuila had landslides in which nine miners were killed.

The worst mining accident in recent Mexican history also occurred in that state on February 19, 2006 when an explosion occurred at the Pasta de Conchos mine while 73 miners were on duty. Eight were saved from serious injuries and burns and the rest died. The bodies of only two of them were recovered.

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Associated Press journalist Fabiola Sanchez contributed to this Mexico City report.

World Nation News Desk
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