Rescue workers pump water out of a collapsed gold mine as they search for victims in Parigi Moutong, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. AP
An illegal gold mine in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island collapsed on nearly two dozen people working inside, killing three and leaving another five missing, officials said on Thursday.
Survivors estimated about 23 people were trapped in the rubble when the mine in Central Sulawesi province’s Parigi Moutong district collapsed late on Wednesday due to unstable soil, said Andrias Hendrik Johannes, who heads the local search and rescue agency. Rescuers were able to pull 15 people from the debris and recover the bodies of three women during a grueling search effort, he said.
Police, emergency personnel, soldiers and volunteers were all taking part in the efforts to find those still missing, though efforts were being hampered by the remote location of the mine and the unstable soil that risked further slides, he said.
VIDEO: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in good health after surgery
UAE monitoring situation of Boeing 777 with engine PW4000, says civil aviation
Video from the scene showed rescuers struggling to bring out a body bag from a ravine inundated by water.
Illegal or informal mining operations are commonplace in Indonesia, providing a tenuous livelihood to those who labor in conditions with a high risk of serious injury or death.
Landslides, flooding and collapses of tunnels are just some of the hazards in such mining. Much of the processing of gold ore involves use of highly toxic mercury and cyanide by workers using little or no protection.
Indonesia accounts for about 3% of world gold production. Most of that comes from the Grasberg mine in Papua province, said to have $40 billion in reserves and up to 20,000 workers.
But small, often unauthorized mining is on the rise in many parts of Asia and Africa. A study by the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development found the number of people engaged in such mining had risen to over 40 million, up from 30 million in 2014 and 6 million in 1993.
Torrential rains from Tropical Cyclone Seroja turned small communities into wastelands of mud, uprooted trees and sent around 10,000 people fleeing to shelters across the neighbouring Southeast Asian nations.
The wooden fishing boat was carrying 89 onboard when it departed for neighbouring Malaysia through an unguarded route. But it sprung a leak soon after departing before being hit by strong waves and sinking.
Sparked by torrential rain, the deluge and subsequent landslides sent thousands fleeing into shelters as dams overflowed and their homes were submerged. Mud and continued extreme weather have made it difficult for rescue workers to reach trapped survivors.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan awarded Fernando Igreja, former Ambassador of Brazil to the UAE, the Medal of Independence of the First Order in recognition of his efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries in all fields.
A video clip shown by the (WTXF) TV channel showed flames and columns of smoke, dust and debris rising into the sky.
The in-person, virtual sessions and webinars cover various topics, focusing on sustainability, coinciding with the ‘Year of Sustainability’ in the UAE, with the participation of international writers and authors.