The company that operates this mine blew up the entrance with dynamite and one miner rescued from beneath the earth told emergency services that 40 others are still down there.
The alleged illegal miner can be seen being rescued in this footage from an unauthorised entrance that had been blasted closed several hours earlier by one of Bolivia’s largest companies after people heard his muffled screams for help.
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
Video Credit: CEN/Walter Diaz ES Unllallaguenomas
The 22-year-old man, identified as David Navarro, reportedly entered the mine outside the town of Huanuni in the western Bolivian department of Oruro through an unauthorised entrance.
The Huanuni Mining Company was aware that illegal miners were entering the quarry and decided to blast close the known unauthorised entrances with dynamite, according to local media.
After one explosion, a patrolling police officer reportedly heard Navarro’s muffled screams and alerted paramedics and the local fire brigade.
Rescuers pulled the man free from the closed mine entrance and took him to the Hospital San Martin de Porres for a check up.
According to reports, Navarro told the authorities that at least 40 other illegal miners were inside the quarry when the company closed the unauthorised entrances.
Local media said that the company, the largest tin producers in the country, has experienced a 16 percent drop in productivity at the mine compared to last year which is largely due to the alleged mineral thieves.
Union spokesman David Choque said that company spent four days closing the illegal entrances to the mine.
It is estimated that the illegal activities of the treasure hunters, known locally as ‘jukus’, cost the company around 500,000 BOB (58,630 GBP).
After Navarro claimed that 40 other people were inside the mine, the cops carried out searches but have not yet found anyone, according to police spokesman Jose Barrenechea.
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