Panaji: Three people were feared killed while seven others were rescued in a mining accident near Sanvordem town in Goa, officials said on Saturday. The victims` bodies are yet to be recovered due to incessant rains.
A company official has described the accident as a result of a "natural disaster".
The 10 people at the Cuddlem mine operated by Greater Ferromet, a subsidiary owned by the Fomento Resources, got trapped under debris on Friday night when an unstable tailing stack -- a huge heap of aluminium and silica impurities extracted along with iron ore - started sliding down due to heavy monsoon showers.
"The incident occurred around 8.30 pm (Friday). We managed to rescue seven people. But three others, including a minerals engineer, have been feared killed in the sludge," deputy collector Agnelo Fernandes said.
Police and fire department officials were at the site, around 50 km from Panaji, but rescue operations were marred due to incessant rains.
"We are trying to locate the bodies of the three people. But the rains and the mining sludge are making things difficult," a fire department official said.
Arun Kumar Sharma, general manager of Greater Ferromet, said the accident occurred because of a "natural disaster in the form of a landslide (which) took place near our plant".
"In spite of all the company`s best operations practice, three persons are missing for which rescue operations have been going on since late evening (Friday) throughout the night," Sharma said in an official statement.
"There is extensive damage to the assets of the company. However, there is no impact whatsoever on any of the village/habitat in the vicinity. This incident has not occurred in any mine/mining operations and we seek the active co operation of the public at this delicate time," the statement added.