Twelve people have died in a closed gold mine in El Callao, in southeastern Venezuela, a mining and gold panning area, a rescue official said Saturday.
To date, we have 12 people who have died. They entered a mine that has been closed for a long time," the secretary of citizen security for the state of Bolivar, General Edgar Colina Reyes, told AFP by telephone.
The accident happened on Wednesday. "The mine was flooded because of the rains," which deprived the miners of oxygen. "They died of respiratory failure," General Colina Reyes explained.
He said seven bodies had been recovered on Saturday and five on Friday, noting that they were at the morgue for identification.
In 2021, the collapse of a tunnel in a mine in the area had already killed one person, and 34 people were rescued.
Gold panning and illegal mining abound in southern Venezuela. Miners often work in difficult conditions, accidents are frequent and much of this sector is prey to criminal armed gangs.