Rescuers race to reach 24 trapped miners in Nicaragua
By Luis Manuel Galeano and Esteban Felix, AP
August 31, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
BONANZA, Nicaragua--Rescuers in Nicaragua raced Friday to reach at least 24 freelance gold miners trapped by a landslide, including 20 who have been located and have managed to communicate with emergency crews.
Hundreds of relatives and fellow miners prayed outside the El Comal gold and silver mine in the community of Bonanza as rescuers lined up wooden ladders along a 200-foot long tunnel leading toward where the 20 miners are trapped in a kind of cave inside the mine, authorities said. The mine, which cuts into the side of a mountain and upward, was covered by a landslide on Thursday.
Bonanza Mayor Alexander Alvarado said rescuers are close to reaching the area where the miners have been trapped for more than 24 hours. Workers normally enter the mines with enough food and water for the workday.
"In a few minutes it will be possible to bring them food and water," he said.
Commander Javier Amaya of the rescue team said the rescue plan involves groups "of five or 10 miners entering the mine on wooden ladders, tying themselves off and going in until they reach them."
Amaya said local residents had joined the rescue crews. Bonanza is located about 420 kilometers northeast of Managua.
Teams with dogs helped locate the 20 trapped miners, but authorities had not yet been able to get them out by Friday night. The 20 have been able to communicate with rescue workers, telling them they don't know the whereabouts of the other four miners. Two other miners were rescued earlier.