28 bodies recovered after Indonesia tunnel collapse

Rescuers used a ground support split set and welded mesh to prevent rockfalls during their rescue and recovery work.

Story highlights

  • 28 bodies recovered after last week's tunnel collapse, mining company says
  • A total of 10 people have been rescued
  • The accident happened in the eastern province of Papua
  • Company plans to hold joint investigation with Indonesian officials

Emergency workers have recovered all 28 bodies from a collapsed tunnel at an underground mine training facility in Indonesia, the mining company said Wednesday.

Another 10 people were rescued in the aftermath of the accident, which occurred on May 14 about 500 meters from the entrance of the Big Gossan Mine, according to PT Freeport Indonesia, which mines gold, copper and silver in the region. The Indonesian government said a tunnel roof collapsed after a landslide.

The facility is in the eastern Indonesian province of Papua.

PT Freeport has said mining operations, which ceased during the rescue and recovery operations, will remain suspended indefinitely. It says it will launch an independent investigation into the cause of the incident.

"With the recovery work completed we are now focusing on reviewing safety throughout our underground operations and in determining what caused the collapse. We will take all actions required to provide for the safety of our work force," said Richard Adkerson, President and CEO of Freeport.

"Our workforce has always been, and will continue to be, our top priority. Our goal in all our worldwide operations has been to reduce incidents and avoid fatalities. Fatalities are unacceptable for our company.

"We are in the process of assembling an outside investigation team comprised of Indonesian and international experts in underground mining and geotechnical science. We will be transparent in the investigation and its findings and cooperating with the authorities from the Government of Indonesia."

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