A collapse at an illicit gold mine in the Venezuelan rainforest has resulted in the death of numerous individuals.

A collapse at an illicit gold mine in the Venezuelan rainforest has resulted in the death of numerous individuals.

18-foot (5.4-meter) deep pit collapsed on them.

At least sixteen individuals lost their lives after being buried under a collapsed mud wall in a pit that was 18 feet (5.4 meters) deep.

A gold mine that was operating without proper authorization has collapsed.

Officials reported on Thursday that the incident, which occurred on Tuesday at the “Bulla Loca” mine in the state of Bolivar, located in the southern jungles of Venezuela, had a lower number of casualties than previously stated. The mine is approximately a seven-hour boat journey from La Paragua, the closest town, where worried family members were hoping for updates.

Different reports from officials provided varying information on the number of fatalities.

Illegal gold mine collapses in Venezuela

On Feb. 21, 2024, Venezuelan National Guard members assemble at Guacara River Port after an illegal gold mine in La Paragua, Bolivar, Venezuela collapsed on the previous day.


Edgar Colina Reyes, the secretary of citizen security in Bolivar state, reported that 16 individuals had lost their lives. In a video statement, President Nicolas Maduro stated that the death toll was 15, and there were also 11 people injured.

On February 21st, carrying out orders from the Vice President of the Sectorial AJ, @ceballosichaso1, and in coordination with the Bolivar State Government of Angel Marcano, officials from the SNGR, along with city security agencies and members of the Bolivar ZODI, are conducting Rescue Operations… pic.twitter.com/6FWE5SiE22

— cperezampueda (@cperezampueda) February 21, 2024

According to officials, approximately 200 individuals were believed to be employed in the mine.

The footage depicted a large group of individuals laboring in the shallow sections of a surface excavation site, when a gradual landslide suddenly falls upon them. Several individuals were able to escape, but others were buried in the debris.

The 71-year-old miner, Carlos Marcano, described the conditions in the mine as “frightening.”

On Wednesday in La Paragua, he spoke to The Associated Press and expressed, “It is disheartening to see a fellow colleague, a fellow human, pass away in such a manner. Some of us were fortunate to survive. However, there are still casualties who remain trapped and unaccounted for.”

The mayor, Arciniega, initially reported 15 wounded individuals. However, he later stated that four of them had been transported to La Paragua by boat in order to receive medical attention by Wednesday afternoon.

The injured individuals were being taken to a hospital in Ciudad Bolivar, the regional capital, by Colina Reyes. This journey would take four hours from La Paragua and is located 460 miles southeast of Caracas, the capital city.

Waiting for word

Family members anxiously awaited updates on their loved ones who were responsible for providing for them.

“Brother, brother, brother,” exclaimed one person upon witnessing a body being removed from a boat.

Illegal gold mine collapses in Venezuela

On February 21, 2024, a group of individuals assembled at the Guacara River Port in La Paragua, Bolivar, Venezuela, in search of updates on the miners affected by the collapse of an unauthorized gold mine the previous day.


A woman, whose brother-in-law is a father of three, told AFP that they are in need of helicopter support to evacuate the injured. She is currently waiting for updates.

According to Reyes, the military, firefighters, and other groups were “being transported by air” to assess the situation.

Additional support was being sent from Caracas to assist in the search efforts.

Ampueda stated that we are currently assessing the harm and conducting a rescue assessment.

Last December, a mine collapse in the Indigenous village of Ikabaru resulted in the deaths of at least 12 individuals in the surrounding area.

“Bound to happen”  

The Bolivar region holds abundant reserves of gold, diamonds, iron, bauxite, quartz, and coltan. In addition to government-owned mines, there is a thriving underground market for extraction.

AFP interviewed Robinson Basanta, a resident who stated that the miners’ hazardous working conditions and dire poverty were inevitable.

He stated that this mine has produced a large amount of gold. People are compelled to go there to earn a living.

Activists condemn the destruction of the environment and the use of child labor without proper safeguards in this region.

In the previous year, the Venezuelan military removed approximately 14,000 unauthorized miners from Yapacana National Park in the nearby state of Amazonas.

Source: cbsnews.com