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Up to 100 People Still Fear Being Trapped as Illegal Gold Mine Collapsed in Indonesia

JAKARTA – Indonesian authorities warned on Monday that nearly 100 people could still be captured and fears of being killed in a collapsed illegal gold mine, despite the painstaking relief efforts that have so far removed 19 people from the rubble, but also saw nine dead, AFP reported Monday.
Research teams at the unlicensed mine on the island of Sulawesi have been hampered by steep terrain, unstable ground, and dangerously narrow mining wells since the landslide that caused the crash last Tuesday.
Although the authorities stated that search and rescue efforts would continue for another week, they made no mention of continuing efforts to provide food and water for potential survivors.
Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster agency, said the number of miners inside the wells at the time of the accident was still unknown, with the survivors providing data variables.
“Some say that 30 people, 50, 60 or even 100 people, because at the time there were many in the main pit (and) … an unknown number in smaller,” he said in a statement.
Due to the precarious conditions, rescuers had to start digging by hand to try to reach the survivors, but relatives of those trapped last week gave permission to deploy heavy equipment.
Although mechanized diggers cleared the debris from the entrance to a hole on Sunday, and they found no survivors.
The accident occurred in the Bolaang Mongondow area of northern Sulawesi, where five miners were killed in December after a similar accident in an illegal gold mine.
Indonesia, rich in minerals, has huge unlicensed mines – many of them lacking the most basic safety procedures.
In 2016, 11 miners died after a mudslide engulfed an illegal gold mine in Jambi province, Sumatra.
In 2015, 12 people died during the collapse of a mine shaft on the island of Java and 11 miners died on the island of Sumatra when a mudslide engulfed a mine in Jambi province.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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