Explosion in Colombian mine kills 11 as search for 10 trapped miners continues

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    Rescuers are desperately attempting to free a group of 10 miners after 11 of their colleagues were killed in a gas blast at a Colombian mine.

    The incident in central Colombia is believed to have been caused when sparks from a worker's tool ignited a pocket of accumulated gases, Cundinamarca governor Nicolas Garcia told Blu Radio.

    Relatives were waiting outside the Sutatausa mine on Wednesday (March 15) in an anxious wait for news on their loved ones following Tuesday's (March 14) blast.

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    Firefighters and rescue workers were at the scene.

    "The miners are trapped 900 metres below ground, making access difficult for the rescuers", Garcia said.

    Barrons reported that President Gustavo Petro called it "an unfortunate tragedy" in a Twitter message.

    "We are making every effort with the Cundinamarca regional government to rescue the trapped people alive," the president said, offering "a hug of solidarity to the victims and their families."

    Two workers have been rescued alive, the ANM national mining agency said on Twitter on Wednesday.

    "We regret what happened and we stand in solidarity with the families of those affected," the ANM said.

    Garcia said that the rescuers face a race against time.

    "Every minute that passes means less oxygen," he added.

    Colombia's main exports are oil and gas but mining accidents are frequent.

    Nine workers had to be rescued from a nearby illegal mine in August last year after it collapsed, while in June an explosion at another mine killed 15 people.

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