20221115 death
Image Credit: The recovered bodies have not yet been identified. For illustrative purposes only.

Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela: Twelve people have died from asphyxiation in a shuttered gold mine in southeastern Venezuela, a local official told AFP on Saturday.

"We have 12 dead today," the secretary of security in El Callao, General Edgar Colina Reyes, said in a telephone interview.

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"They entered a mine that had been closed a long time."

The deaths occurred on Wednesday when "the mine was flooded from rains," cutting off the illegal miners' oxygen supply, Colina said.

Five bodies were recovered Friday and seven more on Saturday, he said, adding that none have yet been identified.

In 2021, the collapse of a shaft at the same gold mine caused the death of one person, while 34 others were rescued.

Southern Venezuela teems with legal and illegal mining activity, and accidents are common.