| SAN JUAN ARRIBA, Honduras, July 3
SAN JUAN ARRIBA, Honduras, July 3 Rescuers
labored with pickaxes and shovels to dig out 11 miners trapped
by a landslide at a small gold mine in southern Honduras, and
are close to reaching three of the workers, officials said on
The workers were trapped when the entrance of the mine in
San Juan Arriba, 110 km (70 miles) south of the capital
Tegucigalpa, collapsed on Wednesday.
Firefighters said they had made contact with three of the
workers, though eight are still missing.
"They are slowly advancing. They are very close to three of
the 11 workers trapped, and maybe they will get to them in the
coming hours," Moises Alvarado, a senior emergency services
official in the region told local radio.
The collapse occurred in a drought-stricken region of
Honduras that had been a gold mining center for Spanish
colonists. The rise in gold prices in recent years had spurred
dozens of small mines to open in the area.
Alvarado said many of the mines did not meet the most basic
safety requirements and that there were no maps of the , which
was making the rescue operation harder.
"With the three miners we've located, we have auditory
contact. They are banging their picks and shovels and yelling,"
said Lieutenant Manuel de Jesus Reyes, a firefighter in the
nearby city of Choluteca. "It seems like less noise today, but
we keep working to get to them and save their lives."
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Alden Bentley)