A powerful explosion at a coal mine in central Colombia that affected four other mines linked by tunnels has caused the death of at least 11 people and has left another 10 missing, the government said on Wednesday.
President Gustavo Petro said on his Twitter account that rescuers were doing everything possible to reach the trapped miners.
The explosion, attributed to a buildup of methane gas, It happened Tuesday night in the municipality of Sutatausa, in the province of Cundinamarca.
The governor of Cundinamarca, Nicolás García Bustos, initially reported four deaths with two people recovered alive and 17 trapped in the mine.
But Álvaro Farfán, captain of the Cundinamarca fire department, told local media that the explosion affected five mines interconnected by tunnels, generating a “chain” explosion with a broader impact.
Petro then raised the death toll to 11. Energy and Mines Minister Irene Vélez said 10 people were still trapped in the mines.
The explosion occurred when highly explosive methane gas was ignited, Vélez said.
Explosions and landslides are common in Colombian coal mines.