At least 25 trapped in mine landslide in Nicaragua

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Rescuers worked Friday to reach at least 25 miners trapped in a gold mine landslide in northern Nicaragua.

They could hear voices and presumed that all those trapped are alive, Marta Lagos, an official of the ruling Sandinista Party, told Channel 4 TV. She said rescuers were working to establish contact through an old mine shaft and searching for old tunnels to reach the miners.

The slide occurred Thursday at the El Comal gold and silver mine operated by Hemco in the town of Bonanza, about 260 miles (420 kilometers) northeast of Managua.

Authorities didn't receive word until late Thursday after the mine lost contact with the workers, who are believed to be about 50 feet deep.

Hemco spokesman Gregorio Downs told the government's news website that 26 miners were trapped, and the company initially had contact with them. But he said apparently there were more slides inside after the initial one.

Lagos said one of the miners escaped, but provided no details. The government's news website said Friday that two had been rescued.

According to the website of Nicaragua-based Hemco, the company has mined in the north Atlantic municipality since 1995 and employs 532 workers, who process 700 tons of material a day. The company says it produces more than 2,500 pounds (1,150 kilograms, 37,000 troy ounces) of gold a year and is Nicaragua's 12th largest exporter.