Early dives into a collapsed Mexican mine failed

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Rescue divers’ first attempts to reach 10 miners trapped in a flooded coal mine since last week were halted by debris-filled shafts and poor visibility, Mexican authorities said Thursday.

They made four attempts on Wednesday and managed to remove more than a dozen pieces of wood and some 15 meters of pipe, but couldn’t get far.

“They found they had no space to move forward,” Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval said. “With the lights they carry, they don’t have the visibility they need to identify what they find.”

On August 3, 15 miners were inside the Sabinas, Coahuila coal mine, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas. Authorities believe the miners breached a wall containing another flooded area. Five miners managed to escape with injuries, but there was no contact with the other 10.

For much of the past week, authorities have used dozens of pumps in an attempt to lower the water level inside flooded mine shafts. Wednesday’s dives were the first attempt to enter the mine.

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Coahuila Governor Miguel Riquelme said via Twitter on Wednesday that pumping would resume before more attempts were made to enter.

In June and July 2021, cave-ins at two mines in Coahuila claimed the lives of nine miners.

Mexico’s worst mining accident also occurred in Coahuila on February 19, 2006, when an explosion ripped through the Pasta de Conchos mine with 73 miners inside. Eight were rescued with injuries, including severe burns. The others died and only two of their bodies were found.

López Obrador’s administration promised two years ago to recover the remaining 63 bodies, a highly technical undertaking that has yet to begin.

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