Published: 2023-05-08 10:46
Last Updated: 2023-09-28 02:28
At least 27 workers have died in a fire at a gold mine in a remote area of southern Peru, authorities said Sunday, making it one of the worst mining tragedies in the country's recent history.
Grief-stricken relatives gathered near the mine looking for news of their loved ones.
"Where are you darling, where are you?" cried Marcelina Aguirre.
Her husband Federico Idme Mamani, 51, was amongst the victims.
"We know there was a short circuit and from that an explosion. We are very shocked by everything that happened," added the victim's brother, Francisco.
Police and the public prosecutor's office confirmed that the fire, which engulfed a tunnel inside the La Esperanza 1 mine in the Arequipa region, was caused by a short circuit.
Public prosecutor Giovanni Matos told Channel N television that there were "27 dead inside the mine."
Local media said earlier that the blaze started after an explosion at the mine in the remote Condesuyos province, a 10-hour drive from the city of Arequipa, the regional capital.
The explosion ignited the wooden supports inside the mine in the town of Yanaquihua.
The victims were 100 meters below ground, local media said.
News of the fire was only published Sunday once police had gathered details of those who died.
Rescue teams were trying to secure the mine before removing the victims' bodies.
"We have to make the place where the dead are safe so we can enter it and recover the bodies," said Matos.
There have been no reports of survivors, nor confirmation about how many people were in the mine at the time of the fire.
Yanaquihua mayor James Casquino told the Andina news agency that most of the miners would have died of asphyxiation and burns.