Latin America & Caribbean

Two of four trapped Ecuadorean miners found dead

Rescuers and miners prepare to go down the a shaft at the Casa Negra mine
Image caption Rescuers are continuing to drill through rock following Friday's collapse

Rescuers have found the bodies of two of four miners trapped underground in a gold mine in southern Ecuador.

Rescuers were continuing to clear fallen rock to get to the area where the two missing miners were thought to have been working, officials said.

They were trapped 150m (490 feet) underground by a cave-in on Friday.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has offered his help, three days after the dramatic rescue of 33 miners in Chile.

Deputy Mining Minister Jorge Espinosa said the searchers had hopes of finding the two missing men alive.

"We hope to find the two other miners alive because they were in a spot that probably was not affected" by the cave-in, he told Associated Press news agency.

Mr Espinosa identified the two workers who had been confirmed dead as Walter Vera and Paul Aguirre. He said the two missing men were Pedro Mendoza and Angel Vera, Walter's brother.

President Rafael Correa promised to do "everything possible" to save them.

"God willing, we will find them alive."

The collapse at the Casa Negro gold, silver and copper mine, near the town of Portovelo, is thought to have been caused by a water leak which eroded structural supports.

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