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Nehemias Chavarria is carried by rescue workers from a gold mine after a landslide in San Juan Arriba, Choluteca in southern Honduras, Friday July 4, 2014. Three miners were rescued Friday after spending more than two days trapped following a collapse at a small, wildcat gold mine. Eight others remain missing. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduran officials said Saturday they are losing hope that any of eight still-trapped workers survived the collapse of small gold mine.

Three days after the cave-in, "there is a strong, bad odor of death within the mine ... and that worries us," said Moises Alvarado, chief of the country's emergency commission.

"Without oxygen, food or water, it is very difficult to survive for the 66 hours that those men have been in the mines," he told a news conference. "We hope for a miracle. And only a miracle would let us rescue them alive."

Eleven workers were able to flee immediately after Wednesday's collapse, and three others were rescued on Friday.

Rescue workers and volunteers stay at a gold mine where 11 miners are trapped inside after a landslide in San Juan Arriba, Choluteca in southern Honduras,
Rescue workers and volunteers stay at a gold mine where 11 miners are trapped inside after a landslide in San Juan Arriba, Choluteca in southern Honduras, Thursday, July 3, 2014. More than 300 Red Cross volunteers, firefighters and people who live near the mine in the town of El Corpus were digging by hand in an effort to reach the miners. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio) (Fernando Antonio/AP)

The old, unregulated San Juan Arriba mine is in a mountainous municipality known as El Corpus, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Tegucigalpa, the capital. Officials say more than 1,000 tunnels, most of them unmapped and buried, perforate the hillsides.

About 5,000 people work in artisanal mining in the area, many turning to the mines because plagues devastated the region's grain and coffee crops.



Relatives of 11 miners trapped inside a gold mine after a landslide, cry while the rescue operation continues in San Juan Arriba, Choluteca in southern
Relatives of 11 miners trapped inside a gold mine after a landslide, cry while the rescue operation continues in San Juan Arriba, Choluteca in southern Honduras, Thursday, July 3, 2014. More than 300 Red Cross volunteers, firefighters and people who live near the mine in the town of El Corpus were digging by hand in an effort to reach the miners. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio) (Fernando Antonio/AP)