Seven people are presumed dead after a sinkhole occurred while they were mining gold at Soun Mountain in Xieng Khouang Province.
The incident occurred on Sunday in Laethong Village, Phou Kout District, Xieng Khouang Province, according to a report by Xieng Khouang Provincial Television.
Witnesses say the seven missing persons, now presumed dead, had been illegally prospecting for gold.
Due to heavy rain, landslides and sinkholes occurred, crushing the victims while they were prospecting for gold.
Authorities had warned residents in Phou Koud District to cease all unlicensed gold mining, however, residents say many people ignored the warnings.
Deputy Governor of Phou Kout District, Mr. Sourisa Chanthapanya, said in a televised press conference yesterday that the seven dead were residents of Choi, Bong, and Mueng Seng villages in the Phou Kout District’s Laethong Village Group.
“Rescuers were called to the scene but were unable to recover the bodies of the victims,” said Mr. Sourisa Chanthapanya.
Deputy Governor Sourisa said that because the area had seen days of heavy rain, continuing the search would place rescuers at risk of landslides themselves.
“We hope that the families of the deceased can understand the difficulty we have faced in attempting to recover the bodies,” Mr. Sourisa Chanthapanya added.
Landslides are a problem during the wet season every year, particularly in the rainy season, while recent years have seen sinkholes appearing.
Large sinkholes were reported at several locations in Pha Oudome District of Bokeo Province in June.