Colombia – Coal Mine Tragedy

(ANS – Amaga) – In Amaga, Colombia, the Salesian community suffered the loss of 2 past pupils and 13 fathers of students in the school on June 16 as the result of an explosion of built-up methane in the mine in which they were working.

The Salesian Ciudad Don Bosco, which includes various youth centers and a vocational training center in Amaga and Angelopolis in an area where mining is predominant, is in mourning following the explosion at 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, in the San Joaquin gallery, whree 73 miners due to clock off were killed.

The director, Fr. Armando Alvarez, explained with great sadness: “We would never have imagined that in the San Fernando mine, considered the safest and most up-to-date, such a terrible thing could happen. But today a number of youngsters are orphans on account of the explosion.”

In a public ceremony in the main park in Amaga, the first victims recovered were buried. Bishop José Soleibe Arbelaez of the diocese of Caldas, presided at the funeral, concelebrated also by Fr. Alvarez. Together with a team of social workers from Ciudad Don Bosco, Fr. Alvarez had been offering comfort and support to the families from the beginning.

“Amaga is just one great, painful wound,” one of the teachers from the center said, hearing the cries of so many people who lost their dear ones in the mine, often the only breadwinners for the whole family. “Thank God the Salesians are still here, and that is a reason to keep working for the future,” he added.