Rescuers free 3 trapped Honduran miners, 8 still missing

Posted July 04, 2014, at 3:36 p.m.

SAN JUAN ARRIBA, Honduras — Rescuers on Friday freed three miners who had been trapped by a landslide at an illegal gold mine in southern Honduras, but eight more remained unaccounted for as the search moved into its second day.

The workers were trapped when the entrance to the mine in San Juan Arriba collapsed Wednesday. Officials said the mine, 70 miles south of the Central American nation’s capital Tegucigalpa, had been ordered to close a few months ago because it was unsafe.

“We’ve rescued three of the miners, thank God, and we’re going to keep looking for the other eight,” Moises Alvarado, a senior emergency services official, told reporters.

The three miners were whisked away in ambulances. Oscar Cruz, a spokesman for El Salvador’s Green Cross, which came to help with the search effort, said the men were dehydrated and one had a broken right leg.

Hopes of a major breakthrough surged Wednesday night when Honduran President Juan Hernandez sent a tweet from the scene, saying eight of the miners had been freed. However, he deleted the tweet shortly afterwards and apologized for reporting false news.

The collapse occurred in a drought-stricken region of Honduras that had been a gold mining center for Spanish colonists. The rise in gold prices in recent years had spurred dozens of small mines to open in the area.

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