The Gloria Coal Mine gas explosion death toll rises to 13.

Authorities have confirmed that the death toll in the Gloria coal mine gas explosion has risen to 13.

Search operations resumed at the mine earlier this week after a group of suspected criminals were trapped while allegedly stealing copper cables from one of the shafts.

Rescue officials say that they have had to halt the search operation once again for safety reasons.

It is believed that more than 20 people are feared to be trapped at the abandoned mine which was put under business rescue last year.

Mike Elliott, who represents the business rescue practitioners, said: “We discovered another seven bodies this morning [and] the tragedy is incredible. The rescue teams found two of the people near each other and when they went around searching for more people, they found another five sitting together.”

EWN