More than 60 people are dead after the collapse of a gold mine in Sudan's Darfur region, a local official with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

"The number of people who died is more than 60," Haroun al-Hassan, the local commissioner in Jebel Amir, North Darfur, told reporters.

Al-Hassan goes on to say that rescue operations were still taking place but for how many people was unclear: “No one got precise numbers of how many people were going inside the tunnel." The collapse extended 40 meters below ground level, he said.

Rescuers are reportedly using traditional tools to try to reach presumed other victims. "We cannot use machines because if they came near, the ground will collapse. People are using traditional tools, and because of this, the rescue is very slow," Hassan said.

It is unclear whether rescuers have made any type of contact with potentially trapped miners.

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