Indonesian authorities have confirmed that the death toll in the illegal gold mine collapse in North Sulawesi has risen to seven, with more victims still trapped.
According to The Jakarta Post, 19 miners have been rescued from the scene of the collapse that took place in the Bolaang Mongondow Regency in North Sulawesi on February 26. Rescuers are currently able to communicate with victims who remain trapped by debris inside the mine.
However, rescue efforts have been hampered by the unstable soil conditions and the steep terrain at the location, prompting the rescuers to take things extra slowly.
One of the victims died of blood loss after his leg had to be amputated, which brought the death toll up to seven. Local disaster agency official Abdul Muin Paputungan said the man was already in a serious condition and had lost too much blood. He drew his last breath after he was taken away from the scene.
Paputungan said the rescue operation is a race against time and is very risky. Food and water are being supplied to those stuck underneath the debris.
Rusdi Tulong, a survivor, said he was trapped under the mine for a day and a night. Gaps between the rocks proved to be a lifeline as they allowed him and fellow survivors to breathe.
Authorities are still unaware of how many people remain trapped in the illegal mine.