updated 11/12/2009 11:16:36 AM ET 2009-11-12T16:16:36

A police official says 15 people — 13 of them women — were killed when a gold mine caved in on them in western Ghana.

Western region Superintendent Victor Agbetornyo said Thursday that police are trying to identify the dead.

He says the victims were prospecting in an illegal gold mine in the town of Dompoase when it collapsed on Tuesday.

Police did now know how many people were working in the mine at the time but other miners escaped unharmed.

Police in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, say they have launched an investigation.

The West African nation is one of the continent's largest gold exporters.

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