BOGOTA: The death toll from an explosion in a coal mine in Colombia rose to seven yesterday with the discovery of four more bodies, official said.
The new toll was given by Alvaro Farfan, the head of the firefighting department in the central Cundinamarca region.
The blast ripped through the mine overnight Wednesday into Thursday in Cucunuba municipality around 90km north of the capital Bogota.
Authorities said they suspect pockets of gas trapped in the mine detonated.
Rescue teams initially found three bodies and four workers were missing. These bodies were finally spotted yesterday.
Videos shared on social media showed smoke billowing from a sinkhole in the dead of night while people dressed in civilian clothes carrying torches approached carefully.
Colombia is Latin America’s largest coal producer.
Mining accidents are frequent in Colombia, particularly in illegal mines in Cundinamarca and other parts of the country’s centre and northeast.
The mines and energy ministry registered 1,262 such accidents between 2011 and May 2022 that left an average of more than 100 people dead per year.
An explosion in mid-March in Sutatausa municipality, also in Cundinamarca, left 21 people dead and was one of the worst such tragedies in Colombia in recent years.