January 15, 2021

Artisanal miners feared dead after falling into disused mine

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Michael Magoronga

Three artisanal miners in Zimbabwe’s Midlands province are feared dead after they fell into a disused mine shaft on Wednesday.

It is believed the miners were sleeping on top of a vertical disused mine shaft at Yellow Snake Mine just when disaster struck.

Midlands provincial police spokesperson Inspector Emmanuel Mahoko said: “Three people were trapped at Yellow Snake Mine. Efforts are underway to rescue them with police working with other agencies and well-wishers.

“We cannot assume; we are not yet sure of their condition. All we know for now is that three miners are trapped. More details will be availed as we go.”

Acting Kwekwe District Civil Protection Unit chairperson Mr Clemence Muduma added: “We are still trying to reach them. Rescue efforts have been going on since Wednesday.”

Villagers, fellow miners, police and military personnel are part of the rescue mission, and a well-wisher donated an excavator.

A survivor, Reason Chirairo, said, “We were sleeping under a shed but we were not aware that there was a shaft which was partially closed. We suddenly heard a shacking sound and I jumped to the side. These three were sleeping on top of the shaft exactly and they were swallowed by the soil going down.”

Mine owner Obert Maponga weighed in: “We had stopped them from going underground due to incessant rains; little did we know that disaster waited for them on top. We assume this shaft was left by the Germans and was not closed properly.”

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