Grupo México warns of risky search for bodies from 2006 mine blast

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The billionaire head of mining company Grupo Mexico warned that past efforts to find the bodies of miners killed in a 2006 blast had been “high risk,” a day after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged to try again to recover their remains.

German Larrea, chief executive of the Mexican mining firm and one of the country’s richest men, issued the warning in a letter published by the government on Thursday May 2nd.

AMLO told a news conference on Wednesday he was determined to find the bodies of more than 60 miners remaining at the site, a decision he framed as a humanitarian gesture toward the blast victims’ families.

Some 65 men were killed in the massive mine shaft explosion on Feb. 19 2006 when methane gas caused the collapse of the Pasta de Conchos coal mine in northern Coahuila state. Only two of the bodies were recovered.

Grupo Mexico, which operated the mine, has maintained that it was an unfortunate accident and that the firm had compensated families.

In the moments following the blast, the workers were likely buried by thousands of tons of rock. Investigators said at the time it was possible that many of the men were incinerated as the blast brought the inside temperature to above 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 Fahrenheit).