Deaths in Colombia mine explosion

At least 17 dead and dozens missing after blast in coal mine in Antioquia province.

    Hundreds of miners are killed or injured every
    year in Colombia [EPA]

    The explosion collapsed part of an access tunnel that is more than 1.6 kilometre long and drops to a depth of 150 metres, John Rendon the provincial disaster co-ordinator, said.

    Two injured miners managed to escape from the mine, Rendon said.

    IN VIDEO

    Rescuers struggle in Colombia mine

    "It's very sad news,'' Uribe said in a statement, saying that the predicament of the trapped miners is "a very difficult fate.".

    Alberto Mejia, an army commander, said a 22-man army special forces rescue team was being dispatched to the mine to help.

    At least 100 rescue workers were at the scene, Beatriz Delgado from the Red Cross, said.

    Hundreds are killed or injured every year while prospecting for gold or coal in often makeshift mines in Colombia, the world's fifth largest coal exporter.

    Last year a methane gas explosion, also in Antioquia province, killed eight workers and in 2007, 31 miners were killed in an explosion in Norte de Santander in one of the worst disasters of its kind in a decade.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.