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Illegal Gold Mine Collapse In Venezuela Kills 14

Yorvis Hernandez, a 34-year-old miner, gets medical attention at at tent set up next to a mine after it collapsed in La Paragua, Bolivar state, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrea Cal

At least 14 individuals lost their lives in a devastating incident at an illegal open-pit gold mine in central Venezuela. The collapse, which occurred in the Angostura municipality, also left 11 people injured, with fears that more could be trapped beneath the rubble.

The mine, known as Bulla Loca, is situated in a remote area only accessible by an hours-long boat ride. The collapse of a wall within the mine led to the tragic event, prompting urgent rescue efforts by local authorities.

Officials, including Bolivar state Governor and Angostura Mayor, have been coordinating rescue operations and providing updates on the situation. The community near the mine is bracing for a potential rise in the death toll, with preparations being made for the handling of additional casualties.

Concerned relatives of the miners have gathered in La Paragua, the closest town to the mine, pleading for government assistance. They are requesting aircraft to be sent to the remote location to aid in the rescue of the injured and retrieval of bodies.

The harsh conditions in the area have raised fears of rapid decomposition of the bodies, adding urgency to the rescue mission. The collapse has shed light on the dangers faced by miners in Venezuela, where many operations operate outside the bounds of the law, offering lucrative yet perilous employment opportunities.

Survivor accounts paint a grim picture of the harrowing experience at the mine, with one miner describing the situation as terrifying. Despite some managing to escape, there are still individuals unaccounted for, underscoring the gravity of the incident.

Venezuela's government has been striving to boost revenues through mining activities, leading to a proliferation of operations across the country. However, the tragedy at Bulla Loca serves as a stark reminder of the risks involved in the industry and the need for enhanced safety measures.

As rescue efforts continue and the community grapples with the aftermath of the collapse, the nation mourns the lives lost and hopes for the swift recovery of those injured in this tragic event.

For more updates on Latin America and the Caribbean, visit AP's coverage.

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