At Least five Dead in Mexico Mine Disaster

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Rescuers have recovered five bodies following an explosion in a Northern Mexico coal mine. It is feared the death toll will rise as others are still trapped underground.

Mexican rescuers equipped with oxygen tanks have been continuing their search for a further nine miners feared to be dead after an explosion on Tuesday in a small pit near Texas took five lives.

Accidents are commonplace in this impoverished state where thousands of miners working with very basic tools, sell coal to the Mexican state for power generation.

Benita Garcia's miner husband told her about the dangerous conditions in the mines.

[Benita Garcia, Wife of Miner Eleazar Garcia]:
"He used to describe the conditions they worked in when he got home. He told me they used to carry out youngsters who had fainted. They had tested to see if there was gas down there a few days ago. They didn't have specialized people to deal with gas issues. That's why this happened."

She described her husband as very loving and understanding.

Labor Minister Javier Lozano spent the night at the mine giving continual news updates expressing fears that those still trapped are likely to be dead.

A spokesman at the coal mine, Jesus Espinoza explains what happened,

[Jesus Espinoza, Coal Mine Spokesperson]:
"I can assure you this was an accident. These are the risks involved when you work as a miner. A pocket of gas was found while working and this accident happened."

Despite an expected four billion dollar investment in the Mexican coal mining industry this year, the tiny coal mines often escape inspection and tend to ignore very basic safety standards such as not wearing safety helmets.

In Mexico's worst mining disaster 65 workers died at Grupo Mexico's Pasta de Conchos coal mine in 2006.