People are silhouetted at the landslide site. REUTERS/Jorge
Rescuers freed three miners who had been trapped by a
landslide at an illegal gold mine in southern Honduras, but
eight more remained unaccounted for as the search moved into
its second day.
The workers were trapped when the entrance to the mine in San
Juan Arriba collapsed on Wednesday (local time). Officials
said the mine, 110km south of the Central American nation's
capital Tegucigalpa, had been ordered to close a few months
ago because it was unsafe.
"We've rescued three of the miners, thank God, and we're
going to keep looking for the other eight," Moises Alvarado,
a senior emergency services official, told reporters.
The three miners were whisked away in ambulances. Oscar Cruz,
a spokesman for El Salvador's Green Cross, which came to help
with the search effort, said the men were dehydrated and one
had a broken right leg.
Hopes of a major breakthrough had surged on Wednesday night
when Honduran President Juan Hernandez sent a tweet from the
scene, saying that eight of the miners had been freed.
However, shortly afterwards he deleted the tweet and
apologized for reporting false news.
The collapse occurred in a drought-stricken region of
Honduras that had been a gold mining center for Spanish
colonists. The rise in gold prices in recent years had
spurred dozens of small mines to open in the area.