Bodies of fatal mine accident victims in northern Spain recovered

by Lorraine Williamson
mine accident

CATALONIA – Rescue teams have recovered and identified the bodies of three geologists killed in an accident in a mine in northeast Spain. A

The three became trapped in an Iberpotash potash mine. This was in the Catalan town of Súria, at a depth of 900 metres, following a landslide. It happened around 9.00am on Thursday morning. However, not much later, rescue workers from the fire brigade confirmed that the three had not survived. 

Bodies recovered

It was only a little after six o’clock in the evening that the bodies were recovered. Generalitat president Pere Aragonès confirmed that the bodies had been identified.  

‘We have just collected the bodies, participated in the rescue operation’ he confirmed, visibly affected by the accident. According to Spanish news site Europa Press, the fatalities at the Cabanasses mine were from Sant Joan de Vilatorrada (Barcelona), Colombia and Alicante.  

The mine accident happened when “a not too big rock” broke loose in one of the corridors. The three geologists were doing daily monitoring. From then on, the company’s own rescue teams – consisting of employees of the company – were activated. This was as well as those of the Generalitat fire brigade, the Mossos d’Esquadra and the emergency medical services (SEM).  

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All workers were evacuated, except those who went down to secure the gallery and recover the bodies. The mine has been idle since this morning. Furthermore, it will remain so until the dead are buried, as has always been the case.  

It seems there are no more deaths, but it cannot be ruled out as rescue workers cannot yet descend so deep into the mine due to safety concerns. 

Mourning in the town 

The mayor of Súria, Albert Corberó, cancelled the municipal council meeting scheduled for Thursday because of the accident. Municipal sources confirmed that the council will declare two days of mourning in the city, which is “shocked” by the event. Activities planned for the coming days will also be suspended.  

Second accident in a decade  

For its part, Iberpotash, the subsidiary of Israeli multinational ILC, issued a brief statement expressing its “deep sympathy” over the accident. The causes of the accident are currently under investigation with competent authorities. However, this is not the first time this has happened. Ten years ago, two workers at the same mine were killed in an incident very similar to the one that occurred on Thursday. 

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