18 killed as illegal Indonesian gold mine collapses

18 killed as illegal Indonesian gold mine collapses

At least 18 people died after being trapped in an illegal gold mine that collapsed in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, a search and rescue agency official said yesterday.

Small-scale and illegal mining is a flash point for conflicts and accidents in Indonesia, where mineral resources are often situated in remote and protected forest areas that are difficult for the government to regulate.

The collapse occurred on Saturday at 11am, but the rescue agency was not notified until evening, an official from the West Kalimantan rescue headquarters in Pontianak told Reuters.

A rescue team reached the site late on Saturday and found the bodies of 16 men and two women.

"Local people are reluctant to report incidents like this as many of them are engaged in illegal mining," the official said.

People in the area were not sure how many other miners may have been trapped, but television station Metro TV said there were up to 500 workers at the site on Saturday. A collapse in the same area some time ago killed nine people, said the officer said.

This article was first published on Oct 6, 2014.
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