October 13, 2007 / 7:49 PM / 12 years ago

At least 20 killed in Colombian gold mine disaster

BOGOTA (Reuters) - At least 20 Colombians died in a landslide at an open pit gold mine in the southwest part of the country on Saturday, a witness and local officials said.

“At this point there are 20 dead. There are four machines moving earth searching for survivors,” Luis Hernan Diaz, a security guard at a neighboring electrical plant told Reuters in a telephone interview from the scene of the landslide.

The small, locally operated mine, near the town of Suarez in Cauca province, allows local farmers to search for gold in the pit during weekends when normal mining operations are suspended, Diaz said. No information was available on the identities of the victims.

Suarez councilman Julian Valdez confirmed the number of dead and told reporters more corpses were expected to be found. Ten injured were taken to a local hospital, he told local radio.

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