21 dead in Colombia coal mine accident

At least 21 workers have been confirmed dead following an explosion in a coal mine in central Colombia on Tuesday.

The accident occurred at the mine in Cundinamarca province. The blast is believed to have been caused by a gas leak.

Local authorities said on Thursday that the death toll had risen to 21 after 10 workers trapped in the mine were found dead.

Mining accidents have been occurring frequently in Colombia amid growing demand for the country's coal. The country has been providing its coal to European countries that are facing energy shortages due to the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Their imports of Colombian coal doubled in 2022 from the previous year.

Reports say more than 100 mining accidents occurred in Colombia last year, killing 146 people.

The country's President Gustavo Petro said on Thursday, "Each worker death is not only a business failure, but also a social and government failure." He suggested that the government intends to speed up a shift to renewable energy sources.