NICARAGUA NEWS – Rescuers hoped for a miracle as they cautiously dug through mud, rocks and clay in search of at least four men missing since late last week when a landslide trapped them in a gold mine in Nicaragua.
Guided by a miner who escaped from the wildcat mine, workers found tools believed to belong to the men but had yet to find any sign of life four days after the accident.
“We hope to find them and that they are still alive,” Carlos Najar, vice minister of the Interior, told the Channel 4 television station.
At least 26 miners were trapped when earth around the mine gave way near Bonanza, about 420 kilometres northeast of Managua. Twenty-two men who were rescued from the site were examined at a hospital and released. Between four and eight men were believed still missing.
The exact number was unclear because the miners were freelancers, not formal employees.
The El Comal gold and silver mine is operated under a concession held by Hemco, which is owned by Colombia-based Minero SA. But the trapped miners themselves are freelancers allowed to work in the area if they sell any gold they find to the firm.
Families of the missing men were camped near the rescue site, waiting for word of the men’s fates.
“We will be here until we know what has happened to them, living or dead,” Rodrigo Flores, whose nephew is among the missing, told a local broadcaster, Radio Ya.