As night fell again in the state of Coahuila, family members wept and comforted each other as hopes of finding survivors faded by the hour.

Rescuers work at a coal mine where 10 miners were trapped after a collapse on Thursday, in the Agujita district, Sabinas municipality, Coahuila state, Mexico, August 4, 2022. Photo: Marcos Gonzalez/AFP

AGUHITA – Dozens of rescuers battled Thursday to free 10 workers trapped in a flooded coal mine in northern Mexico, where relatives waited desperately for news more than 24 hours after the collapse.

As night fell again in the state of Coahuila, family members wept and comforted each other as hopes of finding survivors faded by the hour.

“We want them to take the bodies,” Angelica Montelongo said, looking sad and tired, before raising new hope that her brother Jaime would be saved.

“But hey, God willing, right? You have to believe they’re alive,” she said.

Soldiers, emergency workers and rescue dogs have been dispatched to a mine in Agujita in the municipality of Sabinas after the latest disaster to hit Mexico’s main coal-mining region.

“I want with all my heart that we save the miners,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters in Mexico City.

“We must not lose faith. We must not lose hope,” he added.

Five miners managed to escape alive after Wednesday’s collapse and were taken to hospital, national civil defense coordinator Laura Velazquez said, adding that two had been discharged.

“Time is of the essence here,” she said.

Authorities said three mine shafts had sunk 60 meters (200 feet) and the floodwaters inside were 34 meters deep.

“It’s difficult,” Velazquez said.

But the authorities were making progress and pumping out the water “to save the miners as soon as possible,” she added.


About 230 military personnel and other government personnel have been deployed to the site, about 1,130 kilometers (700 miles) north of Mexico City, the defense ministry said.

Several pumps were used to fight the flooding, but López Abrador called on the national water agency to send more equipment.

“Unfortunately, there is not much hope,” José Luis Amaya, whose cousin was among those trapped, told Milenio TV.

Experts and relatives painted a picture of a precarious, high-risk profession mining coal from mines with low safety standards.

“There is always job insecurity … and danger,” said Blaza Maribel Navarro, whose cousin Sergio Cruz mined coal for several years to feed his two daughters.

Navarro said she still hopes to see him alive “because we trust in God.”

Roughly constructed mines like the one that collapsed lack concrete reinforcements to protect workers from collapse, said engineering expert Guillermo Iglesias.

The miners “dig a two-meter-long shaft and keep digging until they reach a small layer of coal,” he told local radio.

The only thing supporting the surrounding ground is usually a large plastic pipe through which the workers enter, he added.

The Coahuila state government said the miners were excavating when they came upon an adjacent area full of water, causing the mine to collapse and flood.

Coahuila has experienced a series of fatal mining accidents over the years.

Last year, seven miners died after being trapped in the region.

The worst accident was an explosion that killed 65 people at the Pasta de Conchos mine in 2006.

Only two bodies were recovered after the tragedy, and the families have repeatedly asked the Mexican authorities to return them.

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