The bodies of three miners who were trapped on March 1 in a cave-in near the Peruvian capital were recovered Tuesday by their relatives three months after authorities suspended the search for them due to the high risk of further mine collapses and toxic gases.
The mine is located in an area known as Agua Salada, which can only be accessed after a five-hour hike, and thus the bodies are still in the vicinity of the mine, RPP radio said.
Claudia Porras, the sister of one of the dead miners, asked the authorities for help, saying: “They haven’t helped us with the recovery work, but we need them to help us with the transport of the bodies.”
Elissa Justiniano, the mother of another of the victims, added that relatives of the miners had spent about 18,000 soles ($6,600) in the search for their loved ones and that they have now run out of money.
“A helicopter is our only hope, because the bodies are very damaged and we don’t want them to be damaged further. We want to take them to give them a Christian burial,” Justiniano told RPP.
Authorities have decided to send a team of police and prosecutors to the area to arrange the transfer of the miners’ remains.
A day after the accident, a miner who managed to escape the collapse alerted the authorities who, initially, organized a rescue operation.
However, Peruvian authorities decided to suspend the search three days later after hearing the recommendations of other miners who warned about the great danger that a new collapse would completely block the tunnel, possibly trapping more miners and/or rescue workers inside.