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SABINAS, Mexico (AP) — Round-the-clock pumping slightly lowered the level of water inside the flooded shafts of a coal mine where 10 miners were trapped in northern Mexico, but two days after a collapse it remained too high for anyone to attempt a rescue, authorities said Friday.

National Civil Defense Coordinator Laura Velázquez said it was “indispensable” to reduce the amount of water in the 200-foot deep mine shafts before divers or any other specialized personnel could enter.

Workers were simultaneously trying to block new water from entering the shafts.

The mine in Sabinas, Coahuila, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas collapsed while 15 miners were inside working Wednesday afternoon. Five managed to escape with injuries. Authorities say the miners breached a neighboring space filled with water. There has been no contact with the miners since the collapse.

Javier Martínez, the Coahuila state delegate of the National Mine Workers Union, said the area where the mine was operating is full of old abandoned mines that are often flooded. He said locals sometimes get small concessions and then contract groups of non-unionized miners to work, usually without safety measures like ventilation systems, emergency exit shafts and security equipment.

Such operations are not supervised by the Labor Secretary, he said.

Accidents in such shoestring operations are common because miners work without maps, often with pneumatic hammers that punch into old mine shafts filled with water, he said.

In this case, the miners’ chances of survival are “complicated,” and would depend on the force of entering water, the amount of mud it carried, whether it swept away the wooden supports holding up the shaft’s walls and if the miners could reach a nook with air.

“I thank God because it’s advancing, little by little it’s advancing,” said Elizabeth Vielma Moreno, a relative of one of the miners.

In June and July of 2021, cave-ins at two Coahuila mines claimed the lives of nine miners.

Mexico’s worst mining accident also occurred in Coahuila on Feb. 19, 2006, when an explosion ripped through the Pasta de Conchos mine while 73 miners were inside. Eight were rescued with injuries including serious burns. The rest died and only two of their bodies were recovered.

López Obrador’s administration promised two years ago to recover the remaining 63 bodies, a highly technical endeavor that has still not begun.


Sánchez reported from Mexico City.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Water Emergency: Rockland County Implements Mandatory Restrictions On Water Use

A county in the Hudson Valley is implementing mandatory restrictions on water use due to dry conditions. 

Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced that a Modified Stage II Water Emergency will be in effect in the county beginning Thursday, Aug. 18.

  • Earlier report: Drought Watch Expanded To Include These NY Counties

The water emergency is the result of unprecedented flow levels in the Ramapo River, which limited the use of Veolia’s Ramapo Valley Well Field, a significant source of water for residents.

Officials said the water-saving measures apply to all residents and businesses and mainly impact outdoor water usage, such as watering the lawn.

Under the new restrictions, lawns can only be watered on specified days and times. Properties with odd-numbered addresses can water lawns during specific hours only on Mondays and Thursdays, the county reported.

Properties with even-numbered addresses can only water lawns during specific hours on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

Watering hours are set for 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. for automatic, in-ground irrigation systems and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for manual sprinklers or hose-fed irrigation.

Flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and landscaped areas can be watered during specified hours every other day of the month.

Properties with odd-numbered addresses can water on odd days of the month, and properties with even-numbered addresses can water on even days of the month. Watering hours are the same as for watering the lawn.

According to county officials, other restrictions include:

  • Nursery facilities and golf courses may exercise a water conservation plan, that is compliant with Article V of the Rockland County Sanitary Code, in lieu of the specified watering restrictions. The conservation plan must reduce average monthly usage by 10%. In addition, all water use at golf courses shall occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. except for hand-watering of greens.
  • Water may not be used to wash any paved surfaces (public or private) such as streets, sidewalks, driveways, tennis courts, garages, parking areas and patios, except as required for an emergency.
  • Water will not be served in restaurants unless the patron requests it.
  • The use of flow-through (non-recycled) fountains, artificial waterfalls and reflecting pools is not allowed.
  • Water cannot be used for flushing sewers or hydrants except for emergencies.
  • All water leaks must be repaired within 48 hours.
  • No bulk water supply from any source within the county may be exported outside the county.
  • Continue to use water efficiently indoors with low-flow shower heads and toilets (look for the Water Sense label if purchasing new fixtures), fix any leaks, sweep rather than wash paved surfaces, run only full loads in washing machines and dish washers, don’t use toilets to dispose of tissues, and consider switching to high-efficiency appliances when it’s time for replacement.

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