Rescue effort underway to free 20 miners in Nicaragua

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(CNN) — Rescuers freed 20 workers from a mine in Nicaragua late Friday, dozens of hours after it collapsed and buried them underground, authorities said.

Five to eight miners remain trapped in the mine near Bonanza in the northern mountains, first lady Rosario Murillo said. The nation’s first lady also serves as a government spokeswoman. The number of workers in the mine at the time of the collapse is unclear.

“Right now we are giving infinite thanks to God and the Virgin for having saved from almost certain death 20 brother miners,” the first lady earlier told El 19 Digital.

A government website said 19 of the 20 miners who were rescued have been released from hospitals.

Since its collapse Thursday, they had spent 34 hours trapped in the silver and gold mine. An unknown number of miners escaped and are undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

Shortly after getting trapped, the miners called out for help.

Their screams were heard by fellow workers who used a tunnel to get close to where they were trapped, government spokeswoman Milagros Solórzano told El 19 Digital.

The nation’s civil defense, army and members of the mining company EMCO are collaborating on the rescue, according to the report.

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