Twelve people died of suffocation in a closed gold mine in El Callao, southeast Venezuela, a local official told AFP on Saturday.
“Today we have 12 deaths, who entered a mine that was closed a long time ago,” said the secretary of Citizen Security for the state of Bolívar, General Edgar Colina Reyes, in a telephone conversation.
The accident occurred on Wednesday: “The mine was flooded by the rains.” What caused “these artisanal miners (…) to lose oxygen and die from respiratory failure,” he explained.
The general specified that seven bodies were recovered on Saturday and five on Friday, and stressed that they are in the morgue for identification.
In 2021, the collapse of a gallery in a mine in the same area caused one death, while 34 people could be rescued.
Gold mining, legal and illegal, abounds in the south of the country. Miners frequently work in difficult conditions and accidents are common. Large areas of this region are prey to armed criminal gangs.