Bogota – The eight workers who were trapped Tuesday in a collapse at a coal mine in the southwestern Colombian province of Valle del Cauca were rescued after 10 tense hours below ground, government officials said.
The cave-in occurred at dawn Tuesday in the Loma Gorda mine in Los Limones, a rural area near Cali, the provincial capital and Colombia's third-largest city.
"The emergency organizations removed material, shoring up the mine and by luck the miners managed to get out alive," the mayor of Cali, the provincial capital, Jorge Ivan Ospina, told reporters.
He added that all the miners "are well and this rescue was achieved by the quick action of the emergency organizations and the cooperation provided by the mine personnel."
The eight "experienced" miners, who range in age from 23 to 54, were trapped some 90 meters (295 feet) down and "they are being supplied with oxygen," Ospina had told reporters earlier in the day.
"We known they're alive, because they're shouting," the mayor had said, adding that the Loma Gorda mine operates legally and that several miners and engineers were working at shoring up the mineshaft to proceed with the rescue.
One of the miners collaborating in the rescue told reporters that the eight trapped in the mine were "well."
On Jan. 26 a gas explosion killed 21 miners at a coal mine in Sardinata, a town in the northeastern province of Norte de Santander.
And during 2010 there were 84 emergencies in mines across the country that caused the deaths of 173 workers, 73 of them in a single incident - an explosion at a coal mine in the northwestern province of Antioquia.