A rescue team in Zimbabwe has recovered nine illegal miners’ bodies on Saturday to renew hope for about 70 people who were earlier trapped in flooded shafts, an accident that the government has declared a disaster.
The accident in Battlefields, 175 km (109 miles) west of Harare, happened on Tuesday night and has shone a light on the dangers facing illegal gold miners, who last year contributed a large part of Zimbabwe’s record 33 tonne bullion output.
“So far we have managed to bring out eight miners alive and we are yet to assess and find any more people down there who are still alive,” Tapererwa Paswavaviri, the government deputy chief mining engineer told reporters at the accident scene.
Zimbabwean rescuers in their quest once again managed to pull the bodies of at least 22 illegal gold miners out of shafts west of Harare days after a burst dam flooded two shafts officials and witnesses said on Saturday.
The government has declared the incident a disaster.
We hope we will be able to retrieve all of the people in time
Henrietta Rushwaya, the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, which represents small-scale miners, said at least 22 bodies had been identified in the shafts and tunnels.
“We hope we will be able to retrieve all of the people in time,” Rushwaya said.