Rescuers move closer to trapped Honduran miners

Tegucigalpa, Jul 4 (EFE).- Emergency management teams working to rescue 11 men trapped by a landslide at a depth of 80 meters (262 feet) inside a small gold mine in southern Honduras succeeded Friday in getting water through to three of the men.

"This morning a little water was passed through" to the three miners with whom we keep in touch through sounds, fire rescue chief Jaime Omar Silva told reporters, but said that how the other eight are doing remains unknown.

He said the work being done in the mine is slow due to the instability of the ground, the need to dig their way in and measures taken to avoid another landslide that could endanger the trapped miners.

The rescue teams have succeeded in reaching a depth of 45 meters (148 feet) and Silva said there are now greater hopes of a quick rescue, at least of the three they have been in contact with since Thursday.

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.

Friday before dawn several rescuers arrived from the El Salvador Green Cross, while another team of experts were expected to arrive from Mexico within hours, Silva said.

Guatemala is also sending rescue specialists to the mine.

Miners from the area and authorities from the El Corpus municipality say some 4,000 people work in the San Juan Arriba area.

Officials have restricted access to the mine entrance for hundreds of people including families, friends and onlookers who have waited outside since Thursday in hopes the miners will be rescued.