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Brawl as Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visits scene where 10 miners remain trapped after five days underground | World News


The desperate families of workers trapped in a mine in Mexico clashed with soldiers as the president visited the scene.

Video footage showed a line of troops holding back relatives who shouted and attempted to push their way through as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrived at the mine in the northern state of Coahuila.

Mr Obrador was reported by local media to have said he was personally supervising the rescue attempt of the 10 trapped miners, who have now been missing for five days.

He assured them that a rescue was a priority and there will be sanctions for those responsible, El Universal newspaper reported.

“Working on that. I want it to be as soon as possible”, he is reported to have said.

The shaft of a coal mine that collapsed leaving miners trapped in Mexico
Image:
An aerial view of the coal mine that collapsed

The president was later seen attempting to speak to the families of some of those who are missing in Sabina, about 100km (65 miles) from the US border.

But El Universal said it led to a brawl as several rushed forward to try to speak to Mr Obrador.

Several of the relatives spoke of their frustration at the pace of the work to free the miners. Their condition is unknown and work has been taking place to drain water from the mine to allow divers to attempt to reach them.

One relative, Ana Leticia Moreno Leija, whose brother Jose Rogelio is inside the mine, was reported by La Jornada as saying not enough was being done, despite the president’s visit.

“He just told us that he was with us, he greeted us, and he left. That is not enough, we expected it to bring large machinery that would dig elsewhere to get rid of the water. It took about five minutes. There are large pumps there, and they have not been inserted, we do not know why,” it reported her as saying.

Another, the mother of trapped miner Ramiro Torres Rodríguez, said she believed the president only visited the site for a photo opportunity.

President Obrador speaks to members of the armed forces involved in the rescue attempt
Image:
President Obrador (centre) speaks to members of the armed forces involved in the rescue attempt

Lucia Rodriguez rather sarcastically told cameras: “Mr President, I thank you for your visit that you came to make to this area where the pain is right now.

“I thank you for coming to take the photo with my pain, with that of my family and the pain of each one of us who are here, thank you. I hope your photographs serve you for your politics, thank you very much for the great visit you came to make us, I appreciate it.”

Amid reports a mining concession had been granted without a full health and safety assessment being carried out, Mexico’s attorney general’s office said it had opened an investigation into possible crimes regarding the incident.

In a statement, the agency said it was working to interview those involved and identify the owner and operators of the site.

Nearly 400 soldiers and civilian workers are reported to be involved in the rescue attempt.

The coal mine is in the community of Las Conchas, in the Agujita area.



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