By Gladylis Flores, additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
Three women and four men died when the walls in a gold mine caved in, in the mining area of El Callao, located in Bolívar state, southern Venezuela. The event occurred on the morning of July 21, according to state police reports.
The seven got identified as Dinmary Rojas and Marilin Salcedo, 24; Samuel Silva, 22; Rosario Durán, 28; Esteban Oliveros, 38; Ali Gonzalez, 28; and Efrain Leon, 42, all dedicated to mining activity.
That brings the total to 18 dead mineworkers in three such tragedies since February, according to a tally kept by El Pitazo.
According to the Bolivar State Police report, relatives of the deceased, taken them to Juan German Roscio Hospital in private vehicles.
A collapse in a mine linked to Alex Saab
So far this year, three collapses of gold deposits have been reported in this southern municipality, with fatal casualties, including this week’s, which has also been the deadliest.
However, the first one took place at a mine tied to a disgraced financier and alleged money launderer, Alex Saab, currently in jail in Cape Verde and awaiting extradition to the US.
The most recent occurred on May 2, when eight people died in the Producers of the South mine in the Nacupay sector.
On Feb. 2, three miners died at the Isidora mine in the El Peru sector, in a restricted area belonging to the Mibiturven company, according to state police authorities.
Mibiturven is a company sanctioned by the US for trying to help the Maduro regime circumvent sanctions through gold-mining proceeds. The recently created company is a Turkish-Venezuelan joint venture tied to Saab, his Italian brother in law and his girlfriend.