Mexico City, Jun 5 (EFE).- One of the seven men trapped in a flooded coal mine in the northern Mexican town of Muzquiz has been found dead, authorities said Saturday.
“We have made the first discovery of a person who was eventually recognized by his co-workers,” Coahuila state Attorney General Gerardo Marquez told the media.
The miner’s family has been notified, he said.
Teams continue working “intensely” to locate the other six miners, Marquez said at the scene, expressing the hope that the men had managed to survive in a dry “nook” inside the mine.
The accident happened late Friday and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said via social media that National Guard and army troops were dispatched to the mine to aid the rescue effort.
Authorities say that it appears a flood caused the roof and walls of the mine to collapse. Industrial pumps were brought in to remove the water from the mine and make it possible for search teams to enter.
The families of the other missing miners remained gathered near the mine on Saturday, praying their loved ones will be rescued safe and sound.
In the wake of the collapse, the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center said Saturday that a formal complaint was presented to the relevant authorities last year about “terrible conditions” at the mine in Muzquiz.
The Center said that in October 2020, it joined the organization Familia Pasta de Conchos – comprising kin of some of the 65 men killed in 2006 in a gas explosion at the Pasta de Conchos mine in Coahuila, to write to the director of Mexico’s state-owned CFE electric utility requesting a meeting on mine safety.
The missive to Manuel Bartlett included claims that two firms hired by the CFE to extract coal for power plants failed to meet health and safety standards.
“There was no potable water for the workers, they were in sneakers, without security equipment, there was no meter console to measure gas, nor first aid kit, (fire) extinguishers, ventilation, and the workers did not know if they were registered with the IMSS (public health insurance plan,” according to the letter, which was accompanied by photos of the mines.
The accident at Muzquiz has revived memories of the Feb. 19, 2006, disaster at Pasta de Conchos. The bodies of all but two of the 65 miners killed remain buried in the mine. EFE mqb-er/dr