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Three dead, at least 15 missing in Colombian illegal gold mine collapse

Three dead, at least 15 missing in Colombian illegal gold mine collapseColombian rescuers continue Friday looking for more than a dozen people feared trapped beneath debris left by in the collapse of an illegal gold mine that killed at least three people.

The accident occurred shortly before midnight Wednesday in a rural area near Santander de Quilichao, about 300 km southwest of Bogota, the capital.

By the end of Thursday rescue workers had recovered the bodies of three dead and three injured, but they said there were about 15 others still missing, CNN in Spanish reported.

The governor said illegal miners use machinery to open huge holes to extract gold, and one of the walls of a hole fell in.

Police, troops, civil defence and the Red Cross were aiding in rescue efforts.

Rescue workers are waiting for heavy machinery to remove enough mud to send in sniffer dogs, but warn there is a fair amount of dirt to be shifted before this is possible.

Last week four miners were killed and 65 affected by poisonous gases in another illegal mine in the Colombian northwest.

From the 14,000 gold mines operating in Colombia, it is believed that about 50% are illegal operations with some 4,000 miners working for gangs and terrorist groups.

Image from NewsCast via YouTube