Search for trapped Honduran gold miners ends

Relatives and friends of eight miners trapped in a gold mine affected by a landslide pray during a mass in San Juan Arriba, in the outskirts of Tegucigalpa. Photo by Reuters
Relatives and friends of eight miners trapped in a gold mine affected by a landslide pray during a mass in San Juan Arriba, in the outskirts of Tegucigalpa. Photo by Reuters
Rescue workers have ended their search for eight missing miners trapped last week by a landslide at an illegal Honduran gold mine.

Eleven miners were initially trapped when the entrance to the mine in San Juan Arriba was suddenly blocked off by the landslide last Wednesday (local time).

Rescuers freed three of the miners on Friday but held out little hope for the other eight, despite slow-moving efforts over the weekend to find them.

"The search and rescue operation has been definitively suspended due to the danger of further landslides in the mine. We can't risk more lives," said emergency services spokesman Ulises Alvarado.

Emergency workers said they smelled foul odors coming from the mine during a search on Friday.

Officials said the mine, about 110km south of the Central American nation's capital Tegucigalpa, had been ordered to close a few months ago because it was unsafe.

The incident occurred in a drought-stricken region of Honduras that was once 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. 

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