Crews battling toxic gases recovered 30 bodies from a makeshift coal mine in northeast Colombia following an explosion that killed 32 miners, a civil defense official said on Sunday.
Efforts to remove the bodies trapped more than 400m underground by Saturday's blast were complicated by poor conditions and dangerous levels of trapped methane that made it impossible for work crews to remain below ground for extended periods.
But Fernando Rosales, director of civil defense in Norte de Santander state, said 30 bodies were recovered as of Sunday evening, and "there's one body remaining which crews will try to remove tomorrow [yesterday]."
Another miner escaped after the blast but later died at a hospital in the state capital of Cucuta, he said.
On Sunday, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe traveled to the mine in the remote hamlet of San Roque, 410km northeast of Bogota, and told family members gathered outside that he was "overcome with grief."
Uribe vowed the government would provide economic assistance to victims' families if the mine's owner had not contributed to employees' pension funds -- a frequent labor violation in the poorly regulated mining sector.
The president also promised an investigation into whether the mine had passed recent safety inspections.
The explosion was likely caused by a buildup of methane inside one of the tunnels that was ignited by a spark, Rosales said.
Many of the bodies were found badly burned and heavily bruised by falling rocks, he added.
Many mines in this Andean nation are makeshift affairs with few or no safety procedures.
In January last year, three self-employed coal miners -- a 60-year-old father and his two sons -- died at a mine in the same region after inhaling poisonous gases.
Other mine disasters in Colombia have been the result of landslides and erosion.
In 2001, at least 37 gold miners were killed when a hillside gave way and swept over them at a strip mine located 200km west of Bogota.
The mine had been shut down earlier in the year because erosion made it unstable.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after