QMEB ยป Underground ‘chain’ explosion kills 21 coal workers
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Underground ‘chain’ explosion kills 21 coal workers

Columbian coal mine
Columbian coal mine

Almost two dozen mine employees perished from a series of subterranean blasts.

Authorities are recovering bodies of at least 21 coal workers who died in Sutatausa, about 75km north of Bogota.

Production remains suspended to let Colombian first responders search for underground victims of the methane gas explosion, which rapidly spread through tunnels and ventilation systems between five operations late on 15 March 2023.

At the time of publication more than nine individuals had escaped the complex while a further three received emergency medical attention the next day. At least 10 were reported missing.

The country’s government believes everyone is responsible for ensuring employees return home safely at the end of each shift.

“Each work fatality is not only a business failure but also a social and governmental one,” President Gustavo Petro said on Twitter.

“I have been in communication with Governor Nicolas Garcia who has just informed me that despite all the efforts of rescue teams, unfortunately 21 people lost their lives in the tragic accident in Sutatausa. All my solidarity to their families.”

National mining agency Agencia Nacional de Mineracao confirmed with Reuters that investigators are already examining what caused the explosion.

Cundinamarca Fire Department captain Alvaro Farfan revealed preliminary assessments suggest the explosions occurred in a “chain” across the underground tunnel network, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Investigations continue.

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