Death toll climbs to 12 in Colombia mine accident

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Photo - Rescue teams arrive to search for survivors at a collapsed illegal gold mine in Santander de Quilichao, southern Colombia, Thursday, May 1, 2014.  Colombian rescuers hunted for more than a dozen people feared trapped beneath debris left by in the collapse of an illegal gold mine that killed at least three people, officials said. (AP Photo/El Pais, Oswaldo Paez)
Rescue teams arrive to search for survivors at a collapsed illegal gold mine in Santander de Quilichao, southern Colombia, Thursday, May 1, 2014. Colombian rescuers hunted for more than a dozen people feared trapped beneath debris left by in the collapse of an illegal gold mine that killed at least three people, officials said. (AP Photo/El Pais, Oswaldo Paez)
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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — More bodies have been pulled from a collapsed gold mine in southwestern Colombia, bringing the number of confirmed fatalities to 12. Four miners are still unaccounted for but presumed dead.

Rescue workers on Sunday had to dig through 20 meters (more than 65 feet) of heavy debris to reach victims of the rock fall that happened Wednesday night in the rural town of Santander de Quilichao.

Mining accidents are common in Colombia, especially at illegal mines like this one in areas dominated by criminal gangs.

Mayor Eduardo Grijalba has asked Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to help end illegal mining after failed efforts by local authorities to shut down the mine that collapsed.

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