MEXICO CITY (AP) – Eight days after a coal mine collapsed in northern Mexico where 10 miners are trapped, their relatives are clinging to their faith to try to endure the grueling wait and delay in rescue operations. Discovery of many obstacles in the sinkhole.
After sleeping four nights in a plastic chair outside this mine located in the Sabinas municipality of the northern state of Coahuila, Liliana Torres refuses to leave the place and clings to an unshakable belief that her uncle, Jaime Montelongo, is out alive. Will come with his nine companions.
“Sometimes I feel tired, but little by little it gives me strength again,” the 32-year-old teacher told the Associated Press on the phone on Thursday, admitting that the strength that keeps her going is “The hope of my uncle’s coming is behind.”
Montelongo is considered the hero of the tragedy, because on the afternoon of August 3, after hearing the loud sound of a mine collapse and flooding, the 61-year-old miner decided to go down into the shaft to look for him. mate, but never back.
After working in mining for nearly five decades, Montelongo, like his father, managed to get a pension, but the little money he received forced him to work digging buckets of coal in the mines, which his colleagues found. filled up.
The miners were trapped after the area around an old mine filled with water collapsed, flooding three shafts of the facility about 60 meters deep.
15 laborers used to work in the mine, but only five could come out after the water entered. All the low-income miners worked without safety measures or supervision by the authorities.
Clinging to a figure of San Judas Tadeo, which he placed on a makeshift altar outside the mine with pictures of jams and candles, Torres, his uncle and cousin wait for news from the authorities about the fate of the miners.
“They’ve been waiting a long time for rescue,” Torres said, complaining of the authorities’ decision to suspend the operation on Wednesday, after military divers and rescuers who were inside a metal basket nine meters down the well Landed at number 4, reported. The discovery of several obstacles prevented him from moving forward.
The case has re-activated criticism about the precarious conditions in which many miners work in Mexico, without following safety measures such as ventilation systems, emergency exits and safety equipment, and without the oversight of the Ministry of Labor.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic and the Office of the Coahuila Attorney General launched an investigation and took a statement from a man, identified as Cristian “S”, who would be the owner of the mine where the accident occurred.
The Attorney General’s office announced in a statement Thursday night that Christian “S” was charged with his responsibility for “direction and administration in all actions of the illegal exploitation of subsoil through the coal mine.” that he would have been committed in the offense of illegal exploitation of property belonging to the nation.
According to information provided by the Ministry of National Defense, two military divers, three civilian rescue teams and three military members of the immediate response team for emergencies or disasters removed 13 wooden poles and 15 meters of flexible hose from the well.
The National Coordination of Civil Defense indicated Thursday that the bottom of the shaft was “found clear”, but the entrances to the mine’s four galleries are blocked by piles of wood.
Officials promised to continue pumping water from the wells to free the galleries and be able to start the rescue.
From the day of the accident, they started extracting water from the wells with the help of some twenty drainage pumps. However, the process was delayed as the level dropped very slowly, as the water came out from one side and went to the other. In view of this situation, the team in charge of emergency decided to drill twice in the area to prevent excess water from entering.
Some 672 agents of military forces and other security forces participate in the work.
The status of the 10 trapped miners was not given by the authorities, but experts have acknowledged that it is very difficult for them to come out alive and say that everything will depend on whether they managed to find the place or not. No. For shelter from the water.