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UPDATE: Esigodini miners still trapped underground

Four artisanal miners, whose makeshift cabin collapsed underground Tuesday morning at Young Mine in Esigodini are still trapped underground and the rescue operation is underway.

The miners have since been identified and their names are currently being withheld with their ages ranging between 41 and 86 years.

The four were inside their cabin made of iron sheets when the surface weakened and collapsed around 7.30am.

This left a hole measuring 20 metres in diameter and six metres deep on that spot, said Zimbabwe Miners Federation Spokesperson, Dosman Mangisi who received a report from the Provincial Mines Director.

“The mine where the accident took place is owned by a Mr Blignaught and the rescue mission is awaiting for an excavator to dig down the open void and explore the bottom. The accident happened around 7.30 am on December 10, 2019.

“The four were preparing tamping material under the shed that was erected atop an old backfill connected to underground. The surface of the ground caved inwards burying all of them leaving a 20metre diameter by six metre deep void,” said the ZMF spokesperson.

Mangisi said the other alternative of accessing the four from underground was filled with rubble and trying to raise that would induce the ground to collapse more.

Sources who were the scene earlier today described the situation as “very bad” and lamented how the country’s disaster risk management plan was poorly planned.

“This reveals how we need to plan ahead because our disaster management or state of preparedness is bad in whole of Zimbabwe and worse in Matabeleland South. The rescue team was not ready for such and from the briefing we had with the team, they might take four days to retrieve these four as it is believed they are far down. However, there are coordinating efforts by people to reach them,” said a small scale miner who works from that area.

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