At Least 1 Killed, 60 Feared Buried in Illegal Mine Landslide

12955572- mining landscape silhouette of coal stock at sunrise

12955572- mining landscape silhouette of coal stock at sunrise

Indonesian officials said on Wednesday dozens of rescuers were using spades and ropes to dig out around 45 people who were feared buried by the collapse of an illegal gold mine on the island of Sulawesi that killed at least one person.

"When dozens of people were mining for gold at the location, suddenly beams and supporting boards they used broke due to unstable land and numerous mining shafts", disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Rescue efforts are reportedly underway in Indonesia after a landslide at an unlicensed gold mine left at least one person dead, officials said Wednesday.

He said recovery efforts were still ongoing as many of those buried were thought to still be alive.

Makeshift wooden structures in the mine in Bolaang Mongondow district collapsed on Tuesday evening due to shifting soil and the large number of mining holes, burying people in the mine pit.

Local disaster official Abdul Muin Paputungan said the search effort was hard because of the risk of causing more landslides and a lack of equipment.

The injured were carried on stretchers and in ambulances to a nearby hospital, where families had gathered to wait for news.

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"We still have hope, when we called them they still responded from down there, asking for help", local disaster agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan said. Picture taken February 26, 2019.

In September a deadly natural disaster and tsunami ravaged Sulawesi killing more than 2,100 people.

The mineral-rich Southeast Asian nation has scores of unlicensed mining sites and safety regulations are routinely flouted. At least five people were killed in the same part of Sulawesi past year after an illegal mine collapsed during heavy rain.

Indonesia accounts for about 3 percent of world gold production. "Maybe now they have started again", he said.

The company said in a statement that illegal mining remained rife in the area and had caused deaths before.

Indonesia's government has banned small-scale gold mining because of the risks of over-mining. "If there is no poisonous gas they can survive for some time", he said.

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