TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) – Honduran officials said Saturday they are losing hope that any of eight still-trapped workers survived the collapse of small gold mine.
Three days after the cave-in, "there is a strong, bad odor of death within the mine ... and that worries us," said Moises Alvarado, chief of the country's emergency commission.
"Without oxygen, food or water, it is very difficult to survive for the 66 hours that those men have been in the mines," he told a news conference. "We hope for a miracle. And only a miracle would let us rescue them alive."
Eleven workers were able to flee immediately after Wednesday's collapse, and three others were rescued on Friday.
The old, unregulated San Juan Arriba mine is in a mountainous municipality known as El Corpus, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Tegucigalpa, the capital. Officials say more than 1,000 tunnels, most of them unmapped and buried, perforate the hillsides.
About 5,000 people work in artisanal mining in the area, many turning to the mines because plagues devastated the region's grain and coffee crops.