At least 27 people have died following a fire in a gold mine in Peru – the deadliest mining accident in the country for decades.
The fire broke out on Saturday and photos on social media showed dark plumes of smoke pouring out of the mine.
The local government said a short circuit sparked the fire in the early hours of Saturday in the southern region of Arequipa.
The mine is operated by Yanaquihua, a small-scale firm. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“It’s been confirmed by the Yanaquihua police station, there are 27 dead,” local prosecutor Giovanni Matos told local television on Sunday.
The Arequipa government said it was told the owner of the mine had gone to ask for help after the fire broke out.
Medical professionals arrived on the scene at about midday local time to tend to the injured, which included three rescue workers, the local government added.
Peru is the world’s top gold producer and second-largest copper producer.
The incident is the single deadliest mining accident since 2000, according to data from Peru’s ministry of
energy and mines.
In 2022, 38 people were killed in mining accidents around the country, highlighting safety concerns in Latin American
Peru had its deadliest year in 2002 when 73 people died in different mining accidents.