LIMA, Peru – A fire engulfed a gold mine in southern Peru and killed at least 27 workers during the overnight shift, Peruvian authorities said. Yanaquihua Mining Company said in a statement that 175 workers had been safely evacuated after the accident, which occurred late Friday or early Saturday. It said 27 of the dead worked for a contractor specializing in mining.
Officials said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Some news reports said that preliminary investigations indicated that the explosion may have been caused by a short circuit in a part of the mine about 330 feet below the surface.
Relatives of the victims were brought by bus to the mine in Yanakihua, in the Arequipa region, where they were briefed by security agents. Some sat in front of posters at the mine entrance to wait for the bodies of their loved ones.
Marcelina Aguirre said her husband was among the dead. He said he told her there were risks in the mine.
“We are very worried, very sad, losing a husband, leaving two abandoned children,” she said.
The public ministry of Arequipa’s fiscal district said investigators are working to clarify what happened. “During the investigation, the prosecutor’s office will determine the cause of the tragic incident and the responsibility of those involved,” its statement said.
Thanks for reading CBS News.
Create your free account or login
For more features.