Officials reported that the death toll from a coal mine explosion in Colombia had increased to seven after four more bodies were discovered. The head of the firefighting department in the central Cundinamarca region, Alvaro Farfan, provided the updated figure.
The explosion occurred in the Cucunuba municipality, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Bogota, overnight from Wednesday to Thursday. Authorities suspect that pockets of gas trapped in the mine caused the explosion. Initially, rescue teams found three bodies, and four workers were missing. On Friday, the missing workers were found, bringing the death toll to seven.
Videos circulating on social media depicted smoke emerging from a sinkhole in the middle of the night, while individuals dressed in civilian clothing carrying torches approached with caution.
Mining accidents are frequent in Colombia, especially in illegal mines in Cundinamarca and other parts of the country’s central and northeast regions. According to the Mines and Energy Ministry, between 2011 and May 2022, there were 1,262 such accidents resulting in an average of more than 100 deaths per year.
In mid-March, an explosion in the Sutatausa municipality, also in Cundinamarca, killed 21 people and was one of the most catastrophic mining accidents in Colombia in recent years.