Methane mine blast kills nine in Colombia

Up to nine miners are feared dead in blasts at two separate coal mines in central Colombia, believed to be caused by methane gas explosions.

The Colombian Institute of Geology and Mining said two miners died at a mine in the municipality of Lenguazaque, where they were trapped in a tunnel and apparently suffered from a lack of oxygen and excessive amounts of carbon dioxide.

Rescuers recovered one body after a larger explosion at a nearby coal mine in the municipality of Guacheta, while the fate of another six miners remained unknown, said Cundinamarca department police chief Colonel Fabio Castaneda. 

In June, 73 miners died at a northwestern coal mine following an explosion investigators said was also due to high methane gas levels.

It was the worst mining disaster in Colombia since July 1977 when 86 workers died in similar circumstances.


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