Five gold miners missing after cave-in, but 20 rescued

16-year-old Leber Gonzales has been rescued after being trapped for more than 24 hours. Photo / AP
16-year-old Leber Gonzales has been rescued after being trapped for more than 24 hours. Photo / AP

Twenty freelance miners, including 16-year-old Leber Gonzales above, have been rescued after being trapped deep underground for more than 24 hours after a cave-in at an unlicensed gold mine in Nicaragua.

Five more workers are still missing.

"We give thanks to God our Lord and the Virgin Mary for having saved from death 20 artisanal miners," official government spokeswoman First Lady Rosario Murillo said.

She said rescue crews were still working to locate the missing five miners. The miners were pulled out one at a time using a pulley system installed late Friday near the pit where they had been trapped.

An AFP photographer said the miners, mostly younger than 30, were "pretty tired, exhausted, dehydrated, muddy and dirty".

They were immediately embraced by family members, who had stayed nearby since the accident.

The gold miners were working in the shaft on Thursday when the mouth of the mine caved in because of a landslide triggered by heavy downpours.

- AAP

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