Governor of the Cauca department, Temistocles Ortega, said the incident occurred when illegal miners using machinery to create massive holes to extract gold accidentally caused one hole to cave in. An estimated 30 people are buried under tons of mud.
Rescue workers are using seven large mechanical diggers to reach the miners.
An official with the fire department, however, expressed doubt that anyone would be found alive. "You have to eliminate the idea [of survivors]. There is no possibility that someone has survived because huge amounts of mud and earth fell on those people," he said.