Mexican president heads to mine disaster zone

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he would visit a disaster-hit coal mining region on Sunday to see firsthand a major operation to try to rescue 10 workers.

Relatives of those trapped were becoming increasingly desperate four days after the mine flooded in the northern state of Coahuila, fearing time is running out to save them.

“I’m going to see how the rescue’s going. I’m going to the situation,” Lopez Obrador told reporters during a trip to the western state of Colima.

“According to the experts, we’ll know if it’s possible for the divers to enter safely,” he tweeted.

Five workers managed to escape from the crudely constructed mine in the initial aftermath of the disaster, but since then, no survivors have been found.

Coahuila’s state government said the miners had been carrying out excavation work when they hit an adjoining area full of water.

Liliana Torres, niece of one of the missing workers, said that she had seen the relentlessness of rescuers who “do not stop all day,” but added that the families were increasingly “desperate.”

Water seen flowing from the mine through drainage channels had lifted earlier the hopes of relatives anxiously awaiting news.

The Coahuila State prosecutor’s office said he had interviewed the five workers who managed to escape from the crudely constructed mine.

He added that his office had requested information from the landowner and mine concession holder, but declined to name them.

A French company has provided equipment to assist in the task, she said, without naming the firm.

Last year, seven miners died when they were trapped in the region.

Only two bodies were retrieved after that tragedy.

Originally published as Mexican president heads to mine disaster zone

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