An explosion tore through a coal mine in northwestern Colombia, killing at least 16 miners and leaving dozens more trapped and feared dead, officials said Thursday.
The blast at the San Fernando mine, believed caused by a buildup of methane gas, collapsed part of an access tunnel that is more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) long and drops to a depth of 500 feet (150 meters), said provincial disaster coordinator John Rendon, The Associated Press informs.
The explosion occurred while shifts were changing. At the time, between 70 and 80 miners were down in the mine.
Two wounded miners were able to reach safety on their own. So far only one miner has been found alive, and all victims were severely burned by the explosion, The Epoch Times reports.