The bodies of eight miners – including three brothers from one family and two from another – were pulled from a gold mine in Kratie province yesterday after an explosion caused a mudslide and flooded the 300-metre deep mine hole on Friday.
Police said the amount of water that needed to be pumped out of the mine, at O’Tron in Sretreng village, Kbal Damrei commune, Sambor district, had thwarted rescue attempts.
Rescuers had worked from Friday and recovered seven of the bodies about 3am yesterday and the eighth about midday.
The eight Cambodian men, employed by Chinese company Xing Wyan Kann Yeak, were brothers Lai Phanna, 35, Lai Phanny, 32, and Lai Pisey, 19, from Kratie province; a 38-year-old man known as Chet, from Kampong Thom province; brothers Pav Oeung, 20, and Pav Oeun, 23, from Kandal; and Touch Ran, 35, and Mao Math, 22, from Prey Veng province.
Kratie provincial police chief Chuong Seang Hak said explosives used to break rock had detonated close to a water source. “It was an accident,” he said.
Chuong Seang Hak expressed sorry for the workers’ deaths and said the victims’ bodies had been handed over to their families at the scene.
“We tried very hard to search for all the bodies,” he said.
The company had paid a total of US$13,000 in compensation to each family, he said.
Sok Kiri Rattanak, director of Kratie’s Department of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the ministry would make a decision over whether the company could continue its exploration and whether legal action would be taken.
Xing Wyan Kann Yeak Company, which has been licensed to operate in Cambodia since 2008, could not be reached for comment yesterday.