Landslide, torrential rain kills 11 people at illegal gold mine in Indonesia,...

Landslide, torrential rain kills 11 people at illegal gold mine in Indonesia, Rescue on

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Landslide, torrential rain kills 11 people at illegal gold mine in Indonesia, Rescue on

A landslide triggered by torrential rains crashed onto an unauthorized gold mining operation on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killing at least 11 people, Nineteen others were reported missing.

More than 100 villagers were digging for grains of gold Sunday in the remote and hilly village of Bone Bolango when tons of mud plunged down the surrounding hills and buried their makeshift camps, said Heriyanto, head of the provincial Search and Rescue Office.

According to data released Tuesday by his office, some 46 villagers managed to escape from landslide, about 23 people were pulled out alive by rescuers, including 18 injured, and 11 bodies were recovered, including three women and a 4-year-old boy. Officials revised an earlier death toll of 12 after finding that one of the dead was listed twice. Some 51 others are missing, it said.

“Relief efforts for the dead and missing were hampered by heavy rain and blocked roads covered with thick mud and debris,” Ilahude said. He said rescuers were having difficulty in evacuating three of the recovered bodies.

National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said torrential rains that have pounded the area since Saturday also broke an embankment, causing floods of up to 3 meters (10 feet) in five villages in Bone Bolango. Nearly 300 houses were affected and more than 1,000 people have fled for safety.

Informal mining operations are common in Indonesia, providing a tenuous livelihood to thousands who labor in conditions with a high risk of serious injury or death.

Landslides, flooding and collapses of tunnels are just some of the hazards facing miners. Much of gold ore processing involves highly toxic mercury and cyanide and workers frequently use little or no protection.

The country’s last major mining-related accident occurred in April 2022 when a landslide crashed onto an illegal traditional gold mine in North Sumatra’s Mandailing Natal district, killing 12 women who were looking for gold.

In February 2019, a makeshift wooden structure in an illegal gold mine in North Sulawesi province collapsed due to shifting soil and the large number of mining holes. More than 40 people were buried and died.