After 138 hours of intense rescue labors in the Casa Negra deposit at Portovelo, El oro; the two miners who had not been rescued yet were found dead yesterday. The bodies of Ángel Vera (29) and Pedro Mendoza (28) were found 150 meters deep in the same place where they were supposed to be 5 days ago.
At 19:00 (Ecuadorian Time) the rescue team reported they found the first body, and then, at 20:30, the death of both miners was confirmed. Three members of the rescue team suffered from asphyxia due to the effort and the depth where they were working. Personnel from the Civil Defense and several ambulances provided the three men with first aid kits.
One of the two miners was found without his clothes and sticked to one of the walls, according to EFE, while the other one was half-buried under the wreckage. According to El Universo newspaper, the dead bodies did not have much time since they lost their lives. “They were ‘fresh’. They must have died at the morning or noon, because […] they did not even smell. Everything was extremely hot in there, there was no air, that is the reason why they must have died. I think we could have almost find them alive” said Giorge Ramírez, one of the rescuers who worked on the team.
Later on, at 21:00, the two bodies could finally be taken to the surface and then carried to the morgue in Zaruma. Ángel Vera’s wife fainted while the truck left the place.
Apparently, the landslide that hit the deposit on Wednesday at 5:00 was the cause for the two men to die because of being buried with even less oxygen, and it also delayed the work of the rescue team.