Indonesia ends mine collapse search as death toll reaches 27

The remains of 27 miners have been found following the disaster on February 26, while 18 were pulled out alive. (AFP)
Updated 07 March 2019

Indonesia ends mine collapse search as death toll reaches 27

  • ‘Our assessment found it is no longer possible to search for the victims because of the possible landslides, it is getting more and more dangerous for the rescuers’
  • ‘We decided to end the search for the mine collapse victims today’

JAKARTA: Indonesia ended the search Thursday for victims of last week’s mine collapse on the island of Sulawesi as the death toll climbed to 27, an official said, even as dozens are still feared missing.
Rescuers were forced to stop using excavators as conditions deteriorated and it was no longer possible to operate heavy machinery on such unstable ground.
“Our assessment found it is no longer possible to search for the victims because of the possible landslides, it is getting more and more dangerous for the rescuers,” local disaster mitigation agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan said.
“We decided to end the search for the mine collapse victims today.”
The remains of 27 miners have been found following the disaster on February 26, while 18 were pulled out alive, Paputungan said.
Rescuers have been hampered by steep terrain, unstable soil and dangerously narrow mining shafts.
It remains unclear how many miners were in the shafts at the time of the accident as survivors had given varying tallies. Rescue agencies said some miners reported it could be as high as 100.
“At least five bodies had been buried in a mass grave because no family had claimed them,” Paputungan said.
The accident happened in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, where five miners were killed in December after a similar illegal gold mine accident.
Mineral-rich Indonesia has scores of unlicensed mines — many with complete disregard for even the most basic safety procedures.
In 2016, 11 miners died after a mudslide engulfed an illegal gold mine in Sumatra’s Jambi province.
A year earlier, 12 people were killed when a shaft collapsed after they tunneled into a disused gold mine on Java island.


Al-Qaeda claims Pakistan detained wife of its chief Zawahiri

Updated 45 min 24 sec ago

Al-Qaeda claims Pakistan detained wife of its chief Zawahiri

  • Zawahiri, an Egyptian, became leader of Al-Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan
  • He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the region

ISLAMABAD: Al-Qaeda has accused Pakistani security forces of detaining the wife of its chief, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and two other families of the insurgent group’s “martyrs” for nearly a year.
In a statement, the leadership of Al-Qaeda on Friday alleged “treacherous Pakistani forces” captured Zawahiri’s wife and others as they left the former Taliban stronghold of Waziristan bordering Afghanistan about a year ago due to continuous airstrikes.
It said: “We ... hold Pakistan’s government and its treacherous army and their American masters responsible for their criminal acts.”
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian, became leader of Al-Qaeda following the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by US Navy SEALS. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the region.