At least 27 workers were killed during an overnight shift when a fire broke out deep inside a gold mine in southern Peru, according to local officials.
The late Friday or early Saturday disaster, which included 175 employees, was reported by the Yanaquihua mining firm in a statement. The 27 victims allegedly worked for a mining-focused contractor.
Government representatives stated that a cause for the fire was being looked into. According to some news reports, preliminary findings suggest a short circuit may have caused an explosion in a section of the mine around 100 meters (330 feet) below the surface.
Buses were used to transport victims’ relatives to the mine in Yanaquihua, which is in the Arequipa region, where they were given a briefing by security personnel.
Some people waited for the bodies of their loved ones by sitting in front of posters at the mine entrance.
According to Marcelina Aguirre, her husband was one of the victims. She claimed he had warned her about dangers at the mine.
She remarked, “We are very concerned and saddened that we might lose a husband and leave two abandoned children.”
The Public Ministry of the Fiscal District of Arequipa reported that detectives were trying to determine what had transpired.
The prosecutor’s office said it would “determine the cause of the tragic event and the responsibilities of those involved during the investigation.”