Rescuers working at the site in Colombia (Picture: AFP)
At least nine miners have been killed with six still trapped underground after a explosion at a mine in Colombia.
The blast of coal dust and methane ripped through the La Mestiza mine in the village of El Albarico in El Zulia municipality on May 30.
It was so powerful that sheets of flame shot nearly 50 feet outside the entrance to the mine.
One of the dead has been identified as Fabio Caceres Garcia, who suffered severe burns in the explosion.
He was the first person to be rescued but died in hospital in Cucuta the following day.
Mr Garcia suffered second and third degree burns to 80% of his body.
He had been outside the mine at the time of the explosion and was hit by the blast wave.
Another miner – not yet named – has since been found dead.
Members of the rescue teams carry the body of a miner in El Zulia (Picture: Getty)
Grieving relatives cry as the rescue teams work in the mine (Picture: Getty)
The blast was thought to be caused by a build-up of gas (Picture: Getty)
The blast, thought to have been caused by a build-up of gas, resulted in the mine’s main entrance slope collapsing, trapping those inside 200 metres underground.
The explosion released high carbon monoxide concentrations, making access to the site difficult for rescue workers.
Workers had managed to repair the ventilation system by Wednesday afternoon, but a Colombia’s National Mining Agency (ANM) spokesman said that same day that the rescue would still ‘take several more days’.
The mine was operating legally and it is not yet known what caused the blast, but the ANM said it would launch an inquiry into how it happened.
It was less than a fortnight ago that the mine received official authorisation to resume its activities, following an accident on March 17 last year.
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