Disasters & Accidents

Relatives of trapped miners in Mexico call for overseas help

Mexico City, Aug 13 (EFE).- The relatives of the 10 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine that collapsed 10 days ago in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila on Saturday called for the help and intervention of foreign rescuers and criticized the actions of the Mexican experts.

The mine collapsed at 1.35 pm local time (18:35 GMT) on Aug. 3 with 15 miners inside. Five escaped with injuries. Authorities believe miners breached a wall to a flooded area.

At a press conference outside the area where the rescue work is being carried out, the relatives said they were “distraught by the slowness of the rescue maneuvers” which were a paused on Friday after heavy rain caused new flooding and delayed the rescuers’ entry into the El Pinabete mine shaft, in the municipality of Sabinas.

“We did not want to share information (with the media). We wanted to give [authorities] their space, so that they could help us quickly, but now we are tired (after so many days) and decided to come out because we need our relatives now,” said Martha María Huerta, wife of one of the miners.

“If they can’t, we want help from another (foreign) party,” said another of the wives who appeared before the media while demanding another visit from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Claudio Mireles, the son of one of the miners, said that the rescuers from the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) were working slowly and not accepting the help of other miners who, he said, know the area better.

In addition, he said that the families “are already very worn out” because it has been 10 days since the collapse and “they only tell them lies. For me they are only lies and there is no progress.”

On Friday, Sedena rescuers entered the collapsed mine several times but ran into more debris obstructing the entrance that they had to remove.

That delayed the entry of the rescuers into the mine, while in the late afternoon and evening, intense rain in Sabinas hindered the work.

The state government said that in order to guarantee safety, it was decided that engineers and rescuers would carry out gas measurements every half hour by, which will allow them to determine the moment in which the conditions are suitable for descending.

The collapse has reignited controversy over the actions of mining companies in the coal region, where more than 100 deaths have been recorded, according to the Pasta de Conchos Family, which brings together relatives of those who died in the 2006 collapse at the mine of that name.

On Thursday, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it will charge the owner of the collapsed mine with illegal mining, and a day later the president justified the slow pace of the rescue, saying “the shafts had a water depth of approximately 30 meters, so they have been lowering the water level, but there is still a long way to go.” EFE


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