Jakarta – The police have named three surviving miners suspects in the collapse of an unauthorized coal mine in Muara Enim regency, South Sumatra.
An unauthorized coal mine in Tanjung Lalang village in Muara Enim collapsed during heavy downpour on Wednesday. Eleven miners, who were working in a 20-meter deep tunnel in the mine, were killed during the incident.
The Muara Enim Police named three survivors suspects: 56-year-old Dadang Supriatna from South Bandung, West Java, 38-year-old Bambang from Bojonegoro, East Java, and 26-year-old Mahmud from Pesawaran, Lampung.
Investigators accused them of violating Article 158 of the 2020 Coal and Mineral Mining Law, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a Rp 100 billion (US$6.8 million) fine.
"The three suspects have been working as miners and were also tasked with transporting the mined coal," Muara Enim Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Donni Eka Syaputra said on Thursday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Investigators seized several tools, machinery, clothes and two motorcycles as evidence in the case.
The three miners said they were not aware that their mining activity was illegal. They said they had only worked as miners for about two weeks after being recruited by fellow workers.
"We're here to earn money. We had no idea it was illegal," Dadang said. (aly)