June 24, 2017 / 2:25 PM / 2 years ago

At least eleven die in Colombia coal mine explosion

People wait for news of their missing relatives after an explosion at an underground coal mine on Friday, in Cucunuba, Colombia June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

BOGOTA (Reuters) - At least eleven miners at an underground coal mine in Colombia have died and two remain missing after an explosion caused by methane gas, the government said on Saturday.

The explosion took place on Friday in the Cucunuba municipality in Cundinamarca province, an area where illegal underground coal mining is widespread and accidents are not uncommon.

“The partial total is 11 dead, one injured and two trapped,” the government said in a statement. “The last three bodies have been located and will be taken to the mouth of the mine to be handed over to the relevant authorities.”

Legal coal mining in the mountainous Andean country, the world’s fifth-largest exporter of coal, is dominated by Cerrejon, Drummond Co Inc [DRMND.UL] and Glencore PLC [GLEN.L].

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta,; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Nick Zieminski

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