Mexican authorities are shifting gears when it comes to the rescue mission to save 10 coal miners who became trapped in a mine on August 3. On Monday, authorities laid out an 11-month plan to recover the bodies of the miners, whose fate has captivated the nation for weeks.
On August 3, a tunnel wall in the Pinabete mine in Coahuila, Mexico collapsed, flooding the mine, trapping the miners, and triggering weeks of rescue efforts. Rescue workers tried pumping the water out of the tunnel in an attempt to reach the miners and reunite them with their families.
“We have the clear assignment from the president … to start immediately, by the method of this open pit, to locate and rescue the bodies of the miners who lost their lives here,” Manuel Bartlett, the head of national electricity company CFE, told reporters about the shift in the rescue mission.
The new plan to recover the bodies of the miners will require CFE to dig an open pit mine measuring 450 meters (1,476 feet) long, 320 meters (1,049 feet) wide, and 60 meters (197 feet) deep.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signaled the change from rescue to recovery and said that the families of the coal miners will receive government compensation to help ease the burden of losing their loved ones.
Families have expressed anger at the response by Mexican authorities when it comes to the rescue of these miners, especially as they remain vigil over the site. Frustrations also came to a head when the President visited the scene of the mining incident, with Ana Leticia Moreno Leija, whose brother Jose Rogelio is inside the mine, saying, “He just told us that he was with us, he greeted us, and he left.”
According to Reuters, a warrant has also been obtained by the attorney general’s office to arrest three people connected to “illegal coal exploitation activities” at the Pinabete mine that collapsed and trapped the miners.