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Two trapped miners found dead 51 days after Chegutu mine collapse

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent


TWO bodies of the five artisanal miners who were September trapped underground when a Chegutu mine shaft collapsed, were finally retrieved Saturday, 51 days after the tragedy.

The development is likely to bring closure to their grieving families.

It could not be immediately established as to whose bodies exactly among the five victims were found.

The five miners were 8 September trapped after a 110-metre mine shaft they were working in collapsed at Task Mine Syndicate situated on the outskirts of Chegutu.

They were identified as Crynos Nyamukanga (44), Munashe Nyamukanga (17), Shingai Gwatidzo (20), Costantino Dzinoreva (47) and Charles Mutume (31).

Tusk Mine Syndicate (Pvt) Limited chairperson, Timothy Masviba confirmed the development.

“Two of the five people that were trapped have been located 50 metres underground. We are in the process of taking the bodies up to the surface and possible burial as soon as all processes have been done,” said Masviba.

However, the recovery of the bodies 51 days after the incident has exposed the country’s lack of disaster preparedness, with the ill-equipped Civil Protection Unit (CPU) and other State agencies having abandoned the rescue mission on 2 October.

Family members say, although less pleased with government’s lack of disaster preparedness, the new development would bring closure after a traumatic period of not knowing the fate of their loved ones.

“We are relieved that our children have been found. Although dead, feel we can now find closure,” said a relative.

Another distraught relative, Enos Mutume said his nephew could have been found alive had government rendered timely help to the trapped artisanal miners.

“Government let us down. They abandoned the search midway without exhausting all possible avenues to rescue our relatives alive,” he said.

The CPU has reportedly pledged coffins and other resources to facilitate burial of the discovered bodies.

Efforts to get comment from CPU director, Nathan Nkomo were fruitless at the time of publishing.