Colombian authorities continue rescue efforts for 11 miners trapped inside flooded pit

Rescue operaration in Caldas. (Image courtesy of Javier García Granados, VP of monitoring, control and mining safety at Colombia’s National Mining Agency, Twitter).

Colombian authorities continue the rescue efforts to release 11 people that have been trapped since March 26 inside the pit of an unregulated gold operation located in the central Caldas department.

According to the National Mining Agency (ANM), the work has been ongoing since emergency personnel were informed of the accident, over a week ago.

Earlier this weekend, ANM staff were able to determine that pit #1 is 4.8 meters deep, and started digging pit #2 with the goal of installing a motor pump. At the main pit, they are using six motor pumps to try to drain it.  

The main pit is 17 meters deep and was flooded with at least 3 cubic metres of water given that the area is experiencing torrential rains. This pit has four other entrances, located to the south and two to the north, all of them completely covered by water. 

In the open pit area, on the other hand, the Agency is using three backhoes and, so far, they have dug a 3,146-square-meter area and removed 62,920 cubic meters of soil material. 

“At present, water in the pit has decreased by about 2 meters. Thus, the protocols to enter the tunnel are in place and we will be able to do so once the water level drops even more and once we have installed the MAKO motor pump,” Javier García Granados, the agency’s vice-president of monitoring, control and mining safety, said in a media statement

According to García Granados, the operation is being executed by nine staff from the ANM, 14 emergency officers and 75 people from the nearby community of Neira. 

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