Four miners have died and five others are believed to be trapped under the rubble after a shaft gave way at a Zimbabwean mine, the country’s miners’ federation said on Saturday.
The incident at the Bay Horse Mine took place on Friday in Chegutu, about 120 km west of the capital Harare, the state-run ZBC reported.
“Four bodies have been recovered so far and five others are still trapped,” Henrietta Rushwaya, president of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation, told AFP.
She says 21 workers have been rescued from the shaft so far.
However, earlier reports from ZBC suggest that up to 18 people may be buried underground.
According to Rushwaya, “13 people were brought out alive during the collapse… and another eight were rescued alive”.
ZBC also reported that the bodies of the victims were found under rocks in a government search and rescue operation, with the help of specialist miners.
Zimbabwe has large deposits of platinum, diamonds, gold, coal and copper. However, due to the struggling economy, illegal mining operations are the order of the day and often take place under dangerous underground conditions.
Accidents are common. In February 2019, 24 miners died when an abandoned shaft gave way after torrential rain in central Zimbabwe.