Rescuers stand at the entrance of a collapsed mine in Bolaang Mongondow, North Sulawesi, Indonesia on February 28.
(Photo: AP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Indonesian authorities on March 7 ended the search for victims of last week's mine collapse on Sulawesi island as the death toll climbed to 27 and dozens are still feared missing.

Rescuers were forced to stop using excavators as conditions deteriorated and it was no longer possible to operate heavy machines on such unstable ground, said Abdul Muin Paputungan, an official of the local disaster mitigation agency.

The agency’s assessment found it is no longer possible to look for the victims because of the possible landslides, it is getting more and more dangerous for the rescuers, said Paputungan.

The remains of 27 miners have been found following the disaster on February 26, while 18 were pulled out alive, he added.

It remains unclear how many miners were in the shafts at the time of the accident as survivors had given varying tallies. Rescue agencies said some miners reported it could amount to 100.

The accident happened in the Bolaang Mongondow region of North Sulawesi, where five miners were killed in December 2018 after a similar illegal gold mine accident.-VNA