Fire in gold mine kills at least 27, Peruvian officials say

LIMA, Peru — A fire broke out deep in a gold mine in southern Peru, killing at least 27 workers during a night shift, Peruvian authorities said.

The Yanaquihua mining company said in a statement that a total of 175 workers had been safely evacuated after the accident, which occurred late Friday or early Saturday. He said the 27 dead worked for a contractor that specializes in mining.

Government officials said the cause of the incident was under investigation. Some news reports said preliminary investigations indicated an explosion may have been caused by a short circuit in a part of the mine some 100 meters (330 feet) below the surface.

The relatives of the victims were taken by buses to the mine in Yanaquihua in the Arequipa region, where they were informed by security agents. Some sat in front of signs at the mine entrance to wait for the bodies of their loved ones.

Marcelina Aguirre said her husband was among the dead. She said that he had told her that there were risks in the mine.

“We are very worried, we are very sad, to lose a husband, leaving two abandoned children,” she said.

The Public Ministry of the Arequipa Fiscal District said that the investigators were working to clarify what happened. “During the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office will determine the cause of the tragic event and the responsibilities of those involved,” says its statement.

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