At least 23 killed in Venezuela gold mine collapse

A gold mine collapsed in the South American country of Venezuela. At least 23 people were killed. It is believed that many laborers were working there at the time of the accident.

The accident and loss of life occurred at an open pit gold mine in central Venezuela. Al Jazeera reported this information in a report on Thursday (February 22).

At least 23 people have died after an earthen wall collapsed at an illegally operated gold mine in central Venezuela, reports said. Many people were working there at the time of the accident.

Around 23 bodies were recovered from an open pit known as Bulla Loca in the jungle of the country’s Bolivar province, local official Iorgi Arciniga told news agency AFP on Wednesday. This accident happened last Tuesday.

Civil Security Deputy Minister Carlos Pérez Ampueda released a video of the incident on social media platform X and described the death toll from the collapse as ‘huge’. However, he did not mention any number of casualties.

The video shows a wall of earth slowly collapsing on people working in shallow water in an open pit mine. Some were able to escape the Sethan during the incident, but many were crushed by it again.

About 200 people are believed to have been working in the mine at the time, according to officials. Getting to where the mine is located is a seven-hour boat ride from the nearest town of La Paraguay.

Bolivar province civil security secretary Edgar Colina Reyes said the injured were being taken to a hospital in the regional capital, Ciudad Bolivar. The region is four hours from La Paraguay and 750 kilometers (460 mi) southeast of the capital, Caracas.

Reyes said the military, fire brigade and other agencies were “airborne to the area” given the situation. He said rescue teams are also being dispatched from Caracas to assist in the search.

Al Jazeera says the Bolivar region is rich in gold, diamonds, iron, bauxite, quartz and coltan. Apart from state mines, the region also has a thriving industry of illegal mining of these precious metals.

Earlier in December last year, at least 12 people were killed in a mine collapse in the tribal community of Ikabaru in the same region