Mexico will ask a German and an American company to help rescue 10 miners who have been trapped in a coal mine for nearly two weeks, officials said on Tuesday, as families called for quicker action to save the trapped men.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond when asked which of the two companies it contacted.
Miners were confined underground at the Pinabete mine in the northern border state of Coahuila on 3 August when a tunnel wall collapsed, causing flooding throughout the mine.
Water rose more than halfway down the 60-meter shaft, and officials have struggled to extract enough water and debris, such as pipes and wooden boards, to safely send rescue teams inside the mine.
Laura Velázquez, head of Mexico’s civil protection agency, said that Mexican officials, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would speak with the companies on Tuesday.
“These are two companies that will give us an opinion to determine our actions more accurately,” she said at a regular government news conference.
Engineers are pumping water from Pinabete as they work on sealing the neighboring Conchas Norte mine — where water that has accumulated over 25 years is now flowing into Pinabete due to the collapse of the underground tunnel.
Relatives of the trapped miners said their frustration built with each delay and blamed the government for not acting more quickly.
“They couldn’t solve anything,” said Javier Tijerina, whose brother Hugo Tijerina is trapped below. “It is a shame that this country does not have rescue personnel trained and prepared for situations like these.”
Hugo’s wife, Erika Escobedo, said she was trying to hold out hope of seeing her husband again, but worried that officials might have missed an opportunity to find the miners when water levels were at their lowest several days ago. .
“It’s all going so slowly… They had to get them out of there when they still could,” she said.
Darkness and debris impede rescue efforts at the flooded mine.
Source: CNN Brasil