Explosion kills four Mexican miners, 10 still missing

MEXICO CITY, May 3 (Xinhua) — Four miners had been found dead and another 10 were missing after an explosion hit a coal mine in northern Mexico Tuesday morning, Labor Secretary Javier Lozano said.

“I regret to inform you that three dead bodies have been found inside the stricken mine in Sabinas, Coahuila,” Lozano said via his Twitter account. The fourth miner was found dead in the mine late Tuesday evening.

“The forecast (for the missing miners) is not hopeful,” Lozano said.

A search has been mounted at the mine, located about 135 km south of the Texas border, and the federal government has promised to do everything possible to rescue the trapped miners.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon told the media Tuesday: “We are vigilant and we are praying for them to be alive. We are working and we will continue to do everything possible within our reach to ensure their rescue.”

Calderon said his government was working closely with the state authorities in Coahuila.

Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora was scheduled to travel to the mine, along with Lozano and Coahuila Governor Jorge Torre Lopez.

The mine is operated by Spanish company BIMSA. The miners were working at a depth of about 60 meters when the explosion happened.

Mexico’s Attorney General’s office (PGR) said in a statement Tuesday that authorities would make sure they got “the truth of the matter” as to what caused “this tragic incident.”

The PGR said another miner, identified as Jesus Fernando Lara Ruiz, who was also working underground at the time of the blast, had been seriously wounded and was taken to a local hospital where both his arms were amputated.

“The explosion was strong. We’re waiting with hope, knowing it will be difficult,” Sabinas Mayor Jesus Montemayor told Radio Formula.

The explosion took place in the heart of a coal-mining region that has seen many tragedies in recent years.

In February 2006, an explosion at the Pasta de Conchos coal mine killed 65 workers. The bodies of 63 victims remain underground.

Cristina Auerbach Benavides, a lawyer for the families of the Pasta de Conchos victims, said safety in the region had not improved and at least 40 miners had died in the region since the Pasta de Conchos disaster.



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