QUITO – Rescue workers recovered the bodies of two miners killed over the weekend in a cave-in at a mine in El Oro, a province in southern Ecuador near the border with Peru, officials said.
The bodies of Paul Aguirre, a Peruvian who initial reports identified as an Ecuadorian, and Walter Vera were recovered late Saturday, a National Workplace Safety Secretariat spokesman told Efe.
Two other miners are still missing in the wake of the collapse deep inside the mine, located in the Portovelo area of El Oro, on Friday.
Aguirre’s remains were transported from the morgue in the city of Zaruma to Machala, another city in El Oro, and from there to Piura, the miner’s hometown in Peru, the El Comercio newspaper reported on its Web site.
The search for the other two missing miners is progressing now that workers were able to move a huge beam that was blocking access to the area where the miners are believed to be, the National Workplace Safety Secretariat spokesman said.
“We are close, but this is the hardest part,” the official said, adding that workers were near the spot where miners Angel Vera, Walter’s brother, and Pedro Mendoza are presumed to be.
The four miners were trapped some 150 meters (490 feet) down in the Casa Negra mine, which is owned by Ecuadorian mining company Minesadco. EFE