The total number of the victims was 38 because two were absent that day."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Twenty eight people have been found dead after an underground training facility at a US-owned PT Freeport Indonesia copper and gold mine in Papua collapsed.

"We just received information 14 other bodies were found today," minister of energy and mineral resources Jero Wacik said at a working meeting with House Commission VII here on Tuesday.

So, totally 28 had died and 10 others had been injured, five seriously and five others lightly in the incident, he said.

He explained the incident occurred during routine training in underground mine safety, involving 40 participants consisting of 25 Papuans and 15 non-Papuans.

The training program had just gone for two days when on the second day the room where the training was held suddenly collapsed causing the participants to be buried under debris.

"The total number of the victims was 38 because two were absent that day," he said.

He said immediately after knowing about the incident he sent mining inspectors to Papua followed two days later by the director general of minerals and coal, Thamrien Sihite.

"We received information about the incident at 9am Eastern Indonesia Time on Tuesday and immediately three mining inspectors from the ministry of energy and mineral resources left for Papua followed two days later by director general Thamrin Sihite," he said.

On the way to the scene, he said, crowd stopped Thamrin and the president director of PT Freeport Indonesia and only after negotiation one of the three jeeps they used was allowed to pass to reach the scene.

At 7.40am Eastern Indonesia Time on Tuesday (May 14) the Big Gossan underground tunnel collapsed while 38 Freeport workers were following a training program in it.

The location was close to an office but far away from active mining activities.

After the incident PT Freeport immediately carried out rescue efforts but due to the size of the tunnel which was small and risks of falling rocks had hindered the rescue efforts.

PT Freeport and mining inspectors are still investigating the cause of the incident.

(Reporting by Anita Permata Dewi/A064/H-YH)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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