Colombian coal mine flooding kills 12

Colombian coal mine flooding kills 12

Twelve coal miners have died in northeastern Colombia after a perforation made in a subterranean water source flooded the underground mine Thursday, trapping 28 workers, Ansa news agency reports (in Spanish).

“Unfortunately, all the miners are dead," said Carlos Mario Usma, Amaga municipality's environmental director. "They were trapped at more than 200 meters, and the cavern is completely flooded."

He added that rescue workers are now focused on removing the miners' remains.

Coal mining is the main economic activity in Amaga, located about 40 kilometers (24 miles) from Colombia’s second largest city Medellin.

The country has about 14,000 mines, more than half of which operate without proper permits.

But local authorities said this particular coal mine has all the legal permits valid and its workers are all insured.

The latest tragedy in this region happened in June 2010, when an explosion in a coal mine killed 73 people, becoming he country's worst mining disaster.

According to the National Mining Agency (ANM), of the 30 emergencies registered in legal mines in Colombia in 2014, “82% have occurred in underground mining.”