Rescue efforts turn tragic :
Ecuador miners found dead
ECUADOR: Days of frantic rescue efforts abruptly gave way to
tragedy Wednesday as two missing miners were found dead six days after
they were lost in a collapsed mine shaft, a rescue worker said.
“We have found both of them. They are dead, and we need another 10
men to get them out,” said Giorgy Ramirez, a member of the rescue team
at the Casa Negra mine some 250 miles (400 kilometers) from Ecuador’s
“We got up there and we found them; one up against a wall but without
his clothes, and the other, you can’t see well because there are boards
and beams all over the place, and he is up against a wall on the
opposite end.” The miners, four in all, went missing Friday, two days
after Chile completed its historic, successful rescue of 33 miners stuck
underground in the San Jose mine for a record 69 days. Of the group of
four miners who were trapped in the collapse, two were found dead last
week. They were identified as Walter Vera, the 31-year-old team leader,
and Peruvian miner Paul Aguirre.
And now rescuers and mine officials set about recovering the bodies
of the last two men — Vera’s brother Angel, 29, a machine operator, and
worker Pedro Mendoza, 28. Just hours before the last two bodies were
found, rescuers had punched into a shelter where they found lamps and a
workman’s boot, but no miners, officials said. Then a sudden rush of
debris down a mine chute briefly blocked passage to the area where the
men were believed to be some 150 meters (500 feet) below ground, a
mining company official said.
President Rafael Correa traveled to the scene at midday, prior to the
second cave-in, to console relatives of the trapped miners amid what
officials had taken as hopeful signs.
Yet by late Wednesday what had been a hopeful mood was crushed by the
hardest of facts. Rescuers said Tuesday they believed the men were in a
space with enough oxygen to sustain them for about four to five days.
Portovelo, Thursday, AFP