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Russian officials end efforts to reach 13 workers in a collapsed gold mine and declare them dead

Authorities in Russia’s Far East on Monday called off a rescue effort for 13 workers trapped deep underground in a collapsed gold mine and declared them dead.

The miners got trapped on March 18 at a depth of about 125 meters (400 feet) when part of the mine collapsed in the Zeysk district of the Amur region, about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) east of Moscow.

About 200 rescuers used powerful pumps to try to take out water that flooded the mine, posing a challenge to the salvage operation.

Regional authorities and the mine operator announced the termination of rescue efforts on Monday, saying that the mine remained flooded and more of its sections could collapse, jeopardizing emergency responders.

The company that operates the mine, one of Russia’s largest, said it would pay compensation to victims’ families.

Officials didn’t immediately say what caused the accident. Most mining accidents in the past have been blamed on violations of safety rules.