Bogota, Jan 27 (Agencies): In the latest incident hitting coal industry in Latin America, an explosion likely to be caused by methane gas builup, killed 21 miners at a coal mine in northeastern Colombia on Wednesday.

Five of the victims died at the mine's entrance and by afternoon two bodies had been removed from the mine with another 14 left to recover, said the provincial Colombian Red Cross director, Johel Enrique Rodriguez.

Officials of Colombia's Institute of Geology and Mining said the explosion most likely contaminated the air throughout the mine. The blast was caused by a buildup of gasses, The Vancouver Sun reported.

About 50 miners were working at the time in the La Preciosa mine, located outside the town of Sardinata in the region of Norte de Santander, near the border with Venezuela.

A similar accident at the same mine four years ago left 31 miners dead.

Colombia's worst recent mining tragedy happened in June, when a blast killed 73 workers at a coal mine near the town of Amaga, in the northwestern region of Antioquia.