At least 24 amateur gold prospectors were killed yesterday when an open pit mine collapsed in southwest Colombia. A landslide caused by torrential rains triggered the accident, which also injured 18 people and left at least 10 missing, BBC reports. Continuing heavy rains have hindered rescue efforts, as has the lack of information about how many people were in the mine.
The victims of the collapse were local residents who illegally entered the privately owned mine after hearing rumors that prospectors were mining gold seams, despite warnings from the local mayor that it was not safe. Gold deposits abound in the region but many mines sit unused because of the danger of warring factions, which control much of rural Colombia and keep mining companies away.