Emergency personnel have recovered the bodies of seven people killed in a Mexican mine explosion on Wednesday in the state of Coalhuila.
“We confirm the recovery of the bodies of the seven trapped miners,” police official Francisco Martinez said in a statement on Wednesday.
“All indications are that the explosion was caused by a pocket of accumulated gas,” Martinez said.
The explosion happened in an El Progreso coal mine in Muzquiz because of a methane gas reaction. The seven people killed were all members of the same family, aged 20 to 39. The miners suffered severe burns and were trapped and crushed by falling rock.
Juan Antonio Ibarra, of the Coahuila emergency services, said the explosion happened some 75m (246ft) underground, according to the BBC news. Emergency crews had to work slowly in well-ventilated conditions to reach the victims because of the potential danger of triggering another explosion.
Methane gas explosions are an all too common occurrence in mines in Coalhuila. In 2006, 65 miners were killed at a mine in Pasta de Conchos. According to Relatives of Pasta Concho, a pressure group formed after the 2006 explosion, 30 people died in 2011 due to mine explosions in Coalhuila. They say 50,000 people work in state mines that are largely unregulated and lack necessary security and safety measures.
Mexico’s labor ministry had enacted access restrictions to the mine in Muzquizm, after inspecting the mine 16 times in 2009 and finding it lacked emergency exits. The Ministry of Labor pledged to continue inspecting across the state for high-risk mines.