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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 February 2006, 03:09 GMT
Mexico mine rescue is abandoned
Pasta de Conchas mine
The rescue effort at the mine lasted almost a week
There is no chance of survival for 65 miners trapped underground in northern Mexico for almost a week, the mine owners have said.

It had been hoped some miners, most trapped at least 2km (1.25 miles) inside the mine, might have survived if air pockets were present.

But now the mine company has told relatives there is no further hope.

Grupo Mexico, said tests of air in the mine showed there was not enough oxygen for anyone to survive.

The men were trapped early last Sunday, when a methane explosion brought down debris and cut them off.

Ten men who were underground escaped safely, and another 12 were rescued, suffering from burns and broken bones.

But nothing more was heard from the larger group further along tunnels, 150 metres below ground.

'Nothing to be done'

Mine director "Ruben Escudero told us all the miners were dead," Juan Hernandez, whose nephew Margarito Zamoran is one of the missing at the Pasta de Conchas mine, told the AFP news agency.

Relatives of the missing at Pasta de Conchas mine
For relatives of the miners, all the waiting has come to nothing
"There's nothing more to be done," Mr Escudero had added.

"We are moving on to the hard task of the physical recovery of our miners so the families can start their mourning," said Xavier Garcia, a senior executive at Grupo Mexico, according to Reuters news agency.

However, he said that it might be two days before rescuers could safely return to the mine.


Operations were halted on Friday because of the risk of further methane explosions. The gas also made breathing difficult for the 100-strong rescue team, as methane is lethal when it forms more than 15% of the atmosphere.

Rescuers were unable to use heavy mechanical equipment for fear of sparking new explosions, but moved hundreds of tons of debris in days of digging.

Relatives were angry at what they saw at deception and raising of false hopes by the mine's management.

"They tricked us because they knew from the beginning how the mine was," said Aida Farias, whose husband, Elias Valero, is one of the missing.

"They played with us like puppets."

Union leaders have alleged that Grupo Mexico ignored safety concerns, and Labour Minister Francisco Salazar has said an investigation is to be carried out.

Grupo Mexico says it will pay compensation of about 70,000 for each of the dead miners.

Mexico mine rescue is suspended
25 Feb 06 |  Americas
'Little hope' for Mexican miners
23 Feb 06 |  Americas
In pictures: Mexico mine blast
21 Feb 06 |  In Pictures

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