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Mudslide Kills Over 30 in Colombia - 2001-11-23


In Colombia, at least 30 people died when a mudslide washed over an open pit gold mine. More than a dozen injured were taken to hospitals. But authorities say about 50 people are believed missing.

Survivors say the landslide hit without warning, at around 6:00 a.m., as they were searching for gold in an unlicensed mine in Caldas.

Televised images from the scene showed emergency response teams digging with shovels and pulling people from the mud.

Local authorities attribute the tragedy to recent rains, which loosened soil along the edges of the mine and caused one side to collapse.

The mine was officially closed several months ago, when erosion made it unsafe.

According to bereaved family members, many of those killed knew the structure was unstable, but they would dig there anyway, out of financial need.

The victims, including an 11-year-old boy, were mostly poor and unemployed.

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