Fresh cave-in complicates effort to rescue trapped miners in Peru

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(CNN) — A cave-in complicated work in southern Peru to rescue nine miners who have been trapped below ground for days, state media reported Sunday.

The miners have been stuck since Thursday in the wildcat Cabeza de Negro mine.

“It’s very complicated work. We’re taking into account all the necessary security measures to avoid risks among the rescuers themselves,” said Cesar Chonate, a regional head of Peru’s civil defense agency, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

Video from state-run TV Peru showed workers, wearing hard hats and headlamps, loading rocks into a pushcart by hand.

It was not clear what caused the initial collapse.

The miners have been getting oxygen, food and water through a tube, which has also allowed them to stay in contact with people above ground, Andina reported.

Peru’s Cabinet chief was in the area Sunday and spoke to reporters about the ongoing effort.

“We want the rescue to happen as soon as possible, but the engineer in charge said it could be another day or two,” said Oscar Valdes, according to Andina.

Peruvian Mining Minister Jorge Merino was also in the area and appealed to mining companies for their expertise, according to a statement from his office.

Mining is big business in Peru, which is a major world producer of copper, silver, gold and other minerals.

“The important thing is that the nine people are alive. We won’t abandon them,” Merino said.

The ordeal stirred memories of the 2010 Chilean mine collapse, in which 33 men were trapped underground for 69 days. All of those miners were rescued, pulled one by one from hundreds of meters beneath the earth’s surface with a specially designed capsule.

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