Two people have died and nine were injured after an open-pit gold mine collapsed in the south-west region of the Cauca province in Colombia.
The accident occurred in the town of Timbiqui on Colombia’s Pacific coast. Workers were closing their work when rocks and mud fell, trapping 17 of them.
Nine people, including the owner of the mine, were injured in the accident and they have been rushed to a nearby hospital.
Timbiqui mayor Jose Victor Amu Sinisterra requested emergency assistance from the federal government.
Sinisterra told Caracol Television: "The aid organisations are already on their way to the scene, but the air force will be needed to help remove the bodies."
Accessibility is a challenge to rescue workers, who need to travel by a river for 45 minutes to reach the mine.
Colombia Reports quoted Sinisterra as telling El Tiempo newspaper: "There is an immense amount of distress in the community from seeing so many people disappear in one moment.
"Relief is on its way to the area, and we hope that at a departmental level help is given to help us overcome this emergency.
"We ask for a lot of support to address the situation, since we haven’t been able to control it."
Wednesday’s mine collapse is second such incident in Cauca province in around two months. At least 12 people died when another illegal gold mine collapsed in the south-west region of the province in May.
According to local media, 26 mining accidents in Colombia have killed at least 23 people and injured more than 100 so far this year. Colombia Ministry of Mines and Energy noted that 63% of the mines in Colombia are illegal.