[JAKARTA] Indonesia's disaster agency said on Wednesday rescuers were searching for survivors after more than 60 people were feared buried by the collapse of an illegal gold mine on the island of Sulawesi.
At least three bodies had been found and 15 people rescued by 8am on Wednesday (0100 GMT) after the mine collapsed the previous evening, according to the disaster mitigation agency and media reports.
"When dozens of people were mining for gold at the location, suddenly beams and supporting boards they used broke due to unstable land and numerous mining shafts," disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.
Photos released by the agency showed rescue workers and villagers on a muddy hillside at night scrambling to pull out survivors and carry them away on stretchers.
"Evacuation efforts continued through the night because of the number of people estimated to be buried," Nugroho said.
The central government has banned such small-scale gold mining, although regional authorities often turn a blind eye to the practice in more remote areas. With little regulation, the mines are prone to accidents.