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article imageCave-in leaves 34 miners trapped in northern Chile

By Igor I. Solar     Aug 6, 2010 in World
Santiago - The collapse of a tunnel at a mine near the city of Copiapó, 834 miles north of Santiago, has left at least 34 workers trapped since last night without communication and information on their condition.
The accident occurred at about 14:30 hours local time at the level 300 of the mine San José, part of the San Esteban Mining Company, dedicated to the exploitation of gold and copper in the Atacama dessert of Chile. The causes of the collapse are under investigation.
The local governor, Ximena Matas, told Chilean radio station Bio Bio:
"There was a collapse in the 300 level and the workers would be at a lower level. At this moment we could say that they are trapped." She also stated that according to information provided by the company there is a shelter at that depth that has the basic elements necessary for the miners to survive for a while. There may be food, water and oxygen in the safety shelter which may provide life support to the miners for up to 72 hours.
Several fire crews from neighbouring communities as well as troops from Special Operations Group (Gope) of the national police have moved to the mine to try to establish contact with the trapped miners. However, access to the mine is very hard and it is complicating rescue efforts. The accident has unleashed many questions about the mining company because the accident was reported to the authorities at 19:00 hrs, five hours after the collapse. The company said in a statement that this will also be "part of the investigation".
Emergency crews will continue working through the night attempting to establish contact with the trapped miners and pursuing rescue efforts.
More about Chile, Copper mine, Copiap, Trapped Miners
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