Mexico: relatives of ten miners trapped underground lose hope

For the second night in a row, a hundred relatives slept near the area cordoned off by the security forces to allow relief work, noted an AFP team in the locality of Sabinas (State of Coahuila).

Mexico: relatives of ten miners trapped underground lose hope

For the second night in a row, a hundred relatives slept near the area cordoned off by the security forces to allow relief work, noted an AFP team in the locality of Sabinas (State of Coahuila). The miners are trapped in shafts 60 meters deep, authorities said.

"We have been here since yesterday, Wednesday, two o'clock in the afternoon", explained Thursday evening to AFPTV Jesus Ronaldo Mireles Romo, 24, who arrived among the first on the scene of the accident which struck his father, Jose Luis, 47 years old.

"I have faith that everything will be fine," he said, stifling a sob.

"Every minute that passes, hope decreases," adds her mother Claudia Romo about her ex-husband. "We have been separated for seven years. But he is the father of my children. It is painful".

“We feel helpless,” she concludes. "We do not lose hope. It is God who has the last word".

Angelica Montelongo had a sad and tired face on Thursday evening after having already spent a night waiting for news from her brother Jaime: "We want them to take the bodies out". “You have to have faith and believe that they are still alive,” she corrects herself a few seconds later.

Blasa Maribel Navarro is also awaiting a sign of life from her nephew Sergio Cruz, 41. He had been working at the mine for barely two months. “We trust God,” she sighs, between two reflections on the risks of mining jobs.

Five miners have already managed to get out. Two of them were able to leave the hospital, the authorities announced on Thursday.

In Mexico City, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador devoted part of his daily press conference on Friday to the tragedy of the miners, giving voice to the technical explanations of civil protection.

“It is essential to reduce the water level (in the mine) to allow the safe entry of search and rescue specialists,” explained civil protection coordinator Laura Velazquez.

Relief introduced submersible pumps into the mine to reduce the level of the flood, which fell from 34 to 30 meters according to the president.

On site, agents of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) reinforced the capacity to supply electricity for the operation of the pumps, AFP noted.

Some 260 rescuers from different corps (army, navy, national guard) were sent as reinforcements.

- Artisanal and dangerous mine -

The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, when miners found while digging an area full of water, the collapse of which caused the flooding.

It is a very dangerous artisanal mine for miners, according to experts.

"The miners dig a shaft two meters in diameter, and continue to dig until they find coal," metallurgical engineer Guillermo Iglesias told local radio.

This type of infrastructure does not protect workers from collapses, unlike the protections that exist in an industrial mine, he added.

We still do not know the name of the company for which the ten miners work.

The state of Coahuila, which produces 99% of Mexican coal, is used to mining tragedies. In June 2021, seven workers died after an underground collapse in the Múzquiz area.

An accident remains engraved in the memories: 65 miners died on February 19, 2006 during the explosion of a pocket of gas in the Pasta de Conchos mine, controlled by the Grupo México conglomerate.

Sixteen years later, 63 of the 65 bodies are still lying at the bottom of the mine.

It has been 16 years that families "demand measures" against accidents "and their appeals have not been heard", lamented the Society of Jesus, which affirms that the Jesuits accompany the relatives in their request for justice before the authorities. international.

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