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The Mexican President goes to a mine disaster area

#Mexican #President #disaster #area

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he will visit a disaster-stricken coal-mining region on Sunday to see firsthand a major operation to save 10 workers.

Four days after the mine flooded in the northern state of Coahuila, families of those trapped grew increasingly desperate, fearing time was running out to rescue them.

Nearly 400 soldiers and other personnel, including six military divers, have joined the rescue effort, but so far it has been too dangerous to enter the mine, authorities said.

“I’ll see how the rescue goes. I’ll address the situation,” Lopez Obrador told reporters during a trip to the western state of Colima.

He had previously declared Saturday a “crucial day” for the operation in Agujita, in the municipality of Sabinas.

“According to experts we will know if it is possible for the divers to enter safely,” he tweeted.

The focus was on pumping water out of the mine to make it safe enough to descend down the 60-meter (200-foot) deep shafts.

Five workers were able to escape from the roughly constructed mine in the first aftermath of the disaster, but no survivors have been found since.

– 24/7 operation –

The Coahuila state government said the miners were digging when they encountered an adjacent area full of water.

As of late Saturday, the water in the mine had receded only about 9.5 meters from the original 34 meters, authorities said.

Liliana Torres, the niece of one of the missing workers, said she witnessed the relentlessness of rescuers who “won’t stop all day”, but added that families were increasingly “desperate”.

After Saturday ended unsuccessfully, some families attended a mass near their makeshift camp in Agujita township.

Water flowing from the mine through drainage channels had previously raised the hopes of loved ones, who anxiously awaited news.

“We still hope they’re in a higher part (of the mine) even though there’s too much water … but we trust in God,” Elva Hernandez, mother-in-law of one of the trapped workers, told AFP.

Coahuila prosecutors said they questioned the five workers who managed to escape from the roughly constructed mine.

“Apparently they were ejected by a torrent of water,” Coahuila Attorney General Gerardo Marquez told the press.

He added that his office has asked the landowner and the mining concession holder for information but has declined to provide it.

Experts spotted a leak from nearby mines and are trying to find its exact location so they can prevent water from flowing into the area where workers are trapped, Nazira Zogbi, Coahuila Labor Minister, said on Saturday.

A French company provided equipment to support the task, she said, without naming the company.

Coahuila, Mexico’s main coal producing region, has seen a string of fatal mining accidents over the years.

Last year, seven miners died when trapped in the region.

The worst accident was an explosion that killed 65 people at the Pasta de Conchos mine in 2006.

After this tragedy, only two bodies were recovered.

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#Mexican #President #disaster #area

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