Coal Mine Explosion In Mexico Traps 14 Miners; Calderón Promises Aid

Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — A gas explosion inside a coal mine in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila Tuesday trapped 14 miners underground and injured another.

The injured miner, 15, was working on a conveyor belt separating coal from tailings when the blast happened. He was rushed to a local hospital where both his arms were amputated and he remains in critical condition.

The 14 miners were down a 60 meter deep shaft when the explosion occurred and are now thought to be trapped some 50 meters underground. It was reported by Spanish language media that the mine is owned by the company BINSA.

A mine employee was lowered down a narrow shaft in an attempt to evaluate the conditions for a possible rescue of the miners, as emergency crews and public officials gathered around the pit of the mine. By mid-afternoon yesterday it was still unclear the condition of the trapped miners.

Rescue crews said that the lingering presence of methane gas is hindering their efforts to reach the miners.

The miner’s concerned family members gathered around the mine Tuesday afternoon as Mexico’s Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano also headed to the scene. Lozano reiterated that it is impossible to attempt a rescue effort with the presence of methane gas in the mine.

“The families are very desperate. We understand them, but it’s quite dangerous to enter the mine due to levels of methane present,” said Jesus Maria Montemayor, the mayor of the nearby town of Sabinas.

President Felipe Calderón also said that the Mexican government would help in the rescue in anyway that it could. Federal officials promised aid to the trapped miners’ families.

A 2006 explosion in the Pasta de Conchos mine, near Sabinas, killed 65 miners. Most of those bodies have still not been recovered.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

Caribbean

Central America

  • The United Nations body that promotes the integration of developing countries into the world economy today advised Guatemala to strengthen governance and improve the performance of it public institutions to attract more foreign direct investment.
  • The United States on Tuesday welcomed moves for Honduras to be readmitted to the Organization of American States (OAS), which had expelled the Central American country over a June 2009 coup.

Andes

  • The mayor of Colombia’s capital was suspended Tuesday while authorities investigate accusations that he mishandled public contracts, the country’s attorney general said.
  • Journalists in Ecuador are demanding that the administration of President Rafael Correa keep its hands off the press and respect freedom of expression.
  • At least five people died and seven others were injured when a huge mudslide buried a portion of one of the main avenues around Ecuador’s capital, Ecuavisa television reported.
  • A 21-year-old Lithuanian citizen died in Lima when a capsule of cocaine broke open in his stomach shortly before he would have attempted to board a flight to Spain, Peruvian anti-drug police said.

Southern Cone

  • Pollution from the Riachuelo waterway running from western Buenos Aires into the Rio de la Plata is causing a high incidence of skin and respiratory problems among the four million people living near the river’s basin.
  • The second black box was recovered Tuesday from the undersea wreckage of the Air France flight that crashed in June 2009, and may provide cockpit recordings explaining the cause of the crash that killed all 228 people aboard.
  • Peruvian Foreign Minister José Antonio Garcia Belaunde said Tuesday that the International Court of Justice in the Hague could rule on the disputed Peru-Chile maritime border by 2013. Chile must issue a rejoinder by July 11.
  • The fifth round of negotiations between Mercosur and the European Union resumed on Tuesday in Asunción after trade talks began in May 2010.

Image: Gobierno Federal @ Flickr.

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