Rescuers have been able to save 22 miners after a Thursday morning collapse left at least 26 trapped in a mine shaft in Bonanza, Nicaragua.

The AP reports that First Lady Rosario Murillo said 20 of the miners were freed late Friday, adding to the two who were able to escape shortly after the collapse. From the AP:

Rescued miner Marvin Urbina, 34, said he and some of his fellow miners saw an avalanche of mud and rock coming their way. They stuck to the walls of the mine but at least four of their co-workers were crushed by the mud and rock streaming down the shaft, he said.

"I asked God to let me live and he listened to me and now I will serve Him," an emotional Urbina told Channel 6.

Interior Vice Minister Carlos Najar told Channel 6 that he expects more of the miners to be rescued overnight, saying,"They are coming out little by little, it's a slow process but we want to make sure they can get out safely.

Commander Javier Amaya of the rescue team spoke to the AP about the plan to save the miners, saying it involved groups "of five or 10 miners entering the mine on wooden ladders, tying themselves off and going in until they reach them."

The rescued miners were reportedly dehydrated, but otherwise in good health

[image via AP]