MAC/20: Mines and Communities

MEXICO

Published by MAC on 2007-03-19

MEXICO

Mexican judge orders arrest of 5 mine managers, inspectors in blast that killed 65

By Juan Montano, ASSOCIATED PRESS

19th March 2007

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico – A judge has ordered the arrest of five mine managers and inspectors on charges of negligent homicide in the deaths of 65 coal miners killed in an underground gas explosion last year, company and state officials said Monday.

Industrial Minera Mexico, owner of the Pasta de Conchos mine, said in a news release that it "has knowledge" of the arrest orders and "trusts the Mexican justice system," saying it will cooperate with authorities in the case. It did not name those being sought.

Coahuila state prosecutor Jorge Rios, who asked the judge to issue the arrest orders, said he had found managers and inspectors at Pasta de Conchos did not fix unsafe conditions detected eight months before the blast.

The explosion on Feb. 19, 2006, at the mine in San Juan de Sabinas reached temperatures as high as 1,110 degrees Fahrenheit. Rescuers have found the bodies of two miners ,but tons of wood, rock and metal, as well as toxic gas, have hindered the recovery of the others.

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