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Bodies of 73 mine workers retrieved in Colombia

Other News Materials 26 June 2010 08:20
The last of altogether 73 miners killed in one of the worst mining accidents in Colombia were retrieved Friday, nine days after a methane explosion rocked the San Fernando coal mine in Antioquia province.
Bodies of 73 mine workers retrieved in Colombia

The last of altogether 73 miners killed in one of the worst mining accidents in Colombia were retrieved Friday, nine days after a methane explosion rocked the San Fernando coal mine in Antioquia province, DPA reported.

Rescue workers recovered the victims' bodies from the 2.500-metre-deep mine despite high concentrations of methane and carbon monoxide, said Antioquia province disaster coordinator John Rendon.

Initial reports had said 72 miners of 79 miners working underground at the time of the explosion died in the powerful methane explosion in the mine near the town of Amaga in north-western Colombia on June 16.

Normally 600 miners work in the mine, but the explosion occurred during shift change, likely sparing some lives.

The week before the accident, the mine passed a safety inspection despite lacking a ventilation system for dangerous gases, a basic safety feature, provincial Governor Alfredo Ramos said earlier.

Colombian mines, including many that are illegal, are considered especially dangerous. The mine hit by the explosion, however, was licensed and considered to be one of the safer operations.

In 2008 fine miners were killed in a flooding at the mine, and in 1977 86 workers died in a gas explosion in a nearby mine.

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