Bogota: Five people were killed in a methane gas explosion at a coal mine in central Colombia, the head of the national disaster management agency said Thursday.
The disaster occurred Wednesday night at the Los Laureles mine about 130 kilometers (80 miles) northeast of Bogota, Carlos Ivan Marquez, the agency`s director told AFP.
The bodies of five miners were recovered after the blast, said the mayor of the town of Samaca, Luis Aponte, who told AFP the mine was operated by Carbones Andinos SAS.
The National Mining Agency said mining operations have been suspended in the area, and it has opened an investigation.
"Preliminary data showed that the emergency originated with a methane gas explosion," an agency vice president, Javier Garcia, said in a statement.
He said rescue teams led by mining professionals were on the scene at 3:00 am (0800 GMT), and recovered the bodies of the dead at 7:30 am.
It said that inspectors found "various" lapses on their last visit to the mine in August 2014, including inadequate electrical systems.