Mexico

Mexico finds the remains of some of the 63 miners who died 18 years ago

The Coahuila state prosecutor's office, in collaboration with the National Search Commission and the National Institute of Genomics Medicine, will begin analyzing the remains for identification

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File

Mexican authorities announced Wednesday that they found the remains of some of the 63 miners who were trapped 18 years ago in a coal mine in northern Mexico.

The accident occurred at the Pasta de Conchos mine in the state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, on Feb. 19, 2006. Of the 73 miners on duty, eight survived with serious burns, and two bodies were recovered.

The Interior ministry said Wednesday that after years of searching they were able to locate “the first human remains” in one of the mine’s chambers, but they did not specify when the remains were recovered.

The accident is considered one of the biggest mining tragedies in the country.

It wasn’t until 2020 when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made a promise to recover the bodies that the process began. Three consecutive governments opted not to try for the rest, saying it would be too dangerous and costly, with no guarantee of success. But victims’ relatives continued to press authorities on the issue over the years.

López Obrador put the Federal Electricity Commission, the nation’s public utility known as the CFE, in charge of the dig – mining and burning coal to reach the long-buried miners.

In the chamber where remains were found there were 13 miners working the day of the accident, according to the Interior ministry.

The government indicated it has not yet determined if an explosion caused the mine's collapse.

The Coahuila state prosecutor's office, in collaboration with the National Search Commission and the National Institute of Genomics Medicine, will begin analyzing the remains for identification and try to determine the cause of the accident.

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