Seven miners were killed and five were unaccounted for following a landslide that occurred at a traditional gold mining site in Baya Biru, Paniai regency, Papua, on Tuesday at around 11 p.m. local time. Two other miners survived the incident.
“The incident took place in the middle of the night when it was raining heavily, and the landslide buried the gold miners’ tents. The scene of the incident is located in rough terrain and can only be reached on foot,” Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Tito Karnavian said in Jayapura on Thursday.
The survivors were identified as Udin, 36, and Fred Yokbun, 29. Udin suffered a fracture to his right arm and injuries to his right leg, while Fred sustained a fracture to his right leg and injuries across his body.
The bodies of the deceased have been taken to the Nabire Regional Hospital. They have been identified as Suprianto, 28, Arifin, 30, Mardi, 32, Alapa, 29, Iwan, 30, Lukman, 30, and Subaedi, 28, all from Nabire city.
Eyewitnesses Silas Maryar and Lumu, who also survived the incident, said heavy rain drenched the tents that they were staying in before the landslide occurred. The tents were erected along the bank of a fast-flowing river.
“The location, as it is hard to reach, meant that aid arrived the next day. The nearest police post can be reached in a day from the mining location,” said Tito.