Jakarta, Mar 5: The death toll from a mine collapsed in Sulawesi province of Indonesia climbed to 17 while the search and rescue efforts were thwarted by further slides of rocks and soil in the illegal gold mine.
"So far, four bodies of miners have been identified, and one injured survivor has been dead days ago. Besides, there are also 12 body bags (containing miners' bodies).
The death toll rose from nine on Saturday, according to the official.
A total of 18 miners survived the disaster which hit the unlicensed gold mine in Bakan village on Feb 26, he said.
As scores of miners are still believed to be trapped underground, and authorities have extended the state of emergency for three days starting from Tuesday.
Spokesman of the National Disaster Management Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the number of miners who were working underground at the time of the disaster was unclear, but some sources said it could be as many as 100.
Poor mine infrastructure and too many holes dug by miners amid unstable soil condition were to blame for the accident, according to the disaster agency. (UNI)