Rescue workers and trapped miners alike frantically dug away at opposite sides of rock and mud that blocked a Nicaragua gold mine, finally succeeding in freeing at least 20 men. Efforts to reach five miners still missing continue.
Bonanza Mayor Alexander Alvarado, a former miner who participated in the rescue efforts, said it took about 100 men working around the clock to reach those trapped and even then, it took about another two hours to bring the first miner out to safety.
Two of the freelance miners escaped shortly after the Thursday morning slide, and officials said another 20 were brought out late Friday. Mirta Lagos, an official of the ruling Sandinista Party who was at the site, said five families reported they have a miner missing.
The rescued miners were checked by paramedics and taken to a hospital in Bonanza, about 260 miles (420 kilometers) northeast of Managua. Interior Vice Minister Carlos Najar said they were a bit dehydrated but in good health.
The gold and silver mine is on a concession held by Hemco, which is owned by Colombia-based Minero SA. But the trapped miners themselves are freelancers allowed to work in the area if they sell any gold they find to the firm, mining company spokesman Gregorio Downs told The Associated Press.