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Search for captured Mexican miners could take ‘nearly a year’

#Search #captured #Mexican #miners #year

Relatives of 10 workers trapped in a flooded Mexican coal mine reacted with desperation on Thursday after learning from authorities that the search could take nearly a year.

The news appeared to erase any lingering hope that the miners would be brought out alive three weeks after a major rescue operation began in the northern state of Coahuila.

“They tell us it would take between six and 11 months to get them out,” said Juani Cabriales, the sister of one of the workers, after being briefed by the government on their latest plan.

“We are desperate. We don’t know what to do. We cannot accept that,” she told the AFP news agency by phone.

Five miners were able to escape after the accident on August 3, but there were no signs of life from the others.

It is believed that the workers accidentally dug a hole that allowed water to pour in from a larger, abandoned mine.

Authorities were forced to reconsider their original plan to send military divers down the shafts of the approximately 60-meter-deep El Pinabete mine after the water levels inside rose sharply.

Last week the government said it plans to drill holes and inject cement to plug the leaks.

On Wednesday, authorities said they were also considering digging an open pit mine with a ramp to gain access to the area where miners are believed to have been trapped.

“We were hoping it would last a month and now they’re coming out with it,” said Guadalupe Cabriales, another sister of one of the missing workers.

“It’s almost a year. It’s not possible. There must be other ways,” she said.

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

The worst 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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