9 dead, 4 missing and 21 survivors in Chegutu mine disaster

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

NINE mine workers have so far been confirmed dead after a shaft at Bayhorse Gold Mine in Chakari, Chegutu district, collapsed Friday morning.

Sources told a joint search and rescue operation had by time of publishing managed to bring four bodies to the surface, while efforts to uplift five other corpses were being thwarted by soft ground and a rock boulder that was blocking the tunnel leading to where the miners lay dead.

Fatalities are expected to rise as four miners are unaccounted for.

Sources told this publication that 21 of the trapped individuals had by Friday night, either escaped to safety or rescued.

Although the exact number of trapped  miners could not initially be ascertained with witnesses putting the figure at between 40 and 44, it was later reviewed there were 34 people underground when tragedy struck around 10am Friday.

Mines Deputy Minister, Polite Kambamura visited the accident site Saturday and confirmed he was briefed that 34 employees had entered the gold mine when the shaft collapsed.

“There were about 34 people when the mine collapsed and there has been tremendous efforts from various stakeholders to search for bodies and rescue survivors,” said Kambamura.

He highlighted that the mission to comb the debris for bodies and survivors was hampered by the unstable ground, which continued to cave in.

The mine is reportedly owned by one T. Sigauke.

Efforts to get comment from CPU national director, Nathan Nkomo and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) national spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, to get official figures of fatalities, missing persons and survivors were fruitless at the time of publishing.