Venezuela Mine Collapse May Have Killed As Many As 25: Mayor


Venezuela mine collapse may have killed as many as 25: mayor

La Paragua, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Feb, 2024) The collapse of an illegal mine in the remote jungles of southern Venezuela may have killed as many as 25 people, the mayor of the affected area said on Wednesday.

The incident happened the day prior at the "bulla loca" mine in the state of Bolivar, a seven-hour boat ride from the nearest town, La Paragua, where family members waited anxiously for news.

"There is talk of 25 dead and 15 wounded," said Yorgi Arciniega, mayor of the Angostura municipality, adding that there was not yet "an exact number."

Earlier, the Bolivar state's secretary of citizen security, Edgar Colina Reyes, reported two dead and two injured.

Reyes said the injured had been transported to hospital in the regional capital Ciudad Bolivar, four hours from La Paragua, which lies 750 kilometers (460 miles) southeast of the capital Caracas.

The dead were taken by boat to La Paragua.

"My brother, my brother, my brother," cried a relative as he saw a body being taken off a boat.

The military, firefighters and other organizations were "moving to the area by air" to evaluate the situation, Reyes said.

Rescue teams were also being flown in from Caracas to aid in the search.

"We are evaluating the damage and doing a rescue analysis," the vice minister of civil protection, Carlos Perez Ampueda, told AFP.

He shared a video of the incident on X, formerly Twitter, showing dozens of people working in the shallow waters of an open pit mine when a wall of earth slowly collapses upon them. Some managed to flee while others were engulfed.

In December last year, at least 12 people were killed when a mine in the Indigenous community of Ikabaru, in the same region, collapsed.

The Bolivar region is rich in gold, diamonds, iron, bauxite, quartz and coltan. Aside from state mines, there is also a booming illegal mining industry.