About seven people have died and dozens trapped beneath the rubble of an illegal gold mine that collapsed in Indonesia, officials said Thursday, as rescuers frantically searched for survivors.
Some 19 miners had been plucked to safety since Tuesday night’s accident and rescuers are communicating with some still buried, raising hopes for more survivors.
But with the clock ticking, the rescue effort at the remote site on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island was hampered by steep terrain and unstable soil conditions after the collapse triggered a landslide.
A survivor whose leg was amputated at the site Thursday later died of massive blood loss, bringing the death toll to seven.
“His condition was already bad and he had lost a lot of blood,” said local disaster agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan.
“He died after we managed to evacuate him from the scene.”
Medical personnel removed the man’s limb because it was pinned underneath a large rock, making it impossible to free him without emergency on-site surgery.
“The rescue is ongoing but it’s risky… We’ve heard at least three people asking for help and we’re trying to pull them out and supply them with water and food so they can survive.”
Army and disaster agency personnel used ropes to navigate the steep, muddy area as survivors were carried away in makeshift stretchers to waiting vehicles.