Honduran authorities rescue 3 of 11 trapped miners

Tegucigalpa, Jul 4 (EFE).- Three of the 11 men trapped 80 meters (262 feet) underground inside a small gold mine in southern Honduras were rescued alive Friday, the head of the Copeco emergency management office said.

Moises Alvarado gave no specific details about the rescue, which was achieved shortly after 10:00 a.m., and said their identities have yet to be confirmed.

The three miners were brought out on stretchers and immediately taken to a nearby hospital.

One of those rescued had apparently suffered a blow to the head, according to a preliminary report.

Firefighters, police, soldiers and personnel from Copeco and the Cruz Verde of Honduras and El Salvador, among others, took part in the rescue operation, which progresses slowly due to the instability of the ground.

Miners, geologists and other experts who have spoken with the press agree that in the San Juan Arriba mine there are many unsafe tunnels.

Nor do any maps exist of the inside of the mine, which makes the rescue work even more difficult.

No news is as yet available about the eight men still trapped underground, but the descent of rescuers to where the three men were saved Friday could lead to locating them.

Hundreds of people, including family members, friends and onlookers, remained waiting outside the mine for news of the trapped men.