Rescued Miner Juan Illanes has said that operators refused his request to leave the mine three hours before the tragic collapse of August 5th. Illanes says he heard loud sounds and worried a collapse was possible. “I want you to know that three hours before the accident, at 11 in the morning, we heard loud and unusual noises inside the mine,” the miner told officials.
A Chilean legislative commission is investigating these reports that operators ignored danger warnings.
“It’s simply incredible that even in the face of the miners’ warnings, measures were not taken to prevent the accident, and to ensure that they were not in the mine when the collapse occurred,” said Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter.
A lawyer acting for the mining company, Hernan Tuane, told the BBC that the accusations were completely false.
Another worker, Gino Cortez, lost his leg in a smaller collapse inside the San Jose Mine in July.
The mining company’s owners and supervisors of the mining operation are under investigation in connection with the earlier accident.