ABOUT 40 Bayhorse Mine employees in Chakari, Chegutu district, are reportedly trapped underground after a shaft collapsed Friday morning.
Sources told NewZimbabwe.com the unfortunate incident could have resulted in some fatalities, amid unconfirmed reports six bodies had so far been retrieved from the debris.
Although the exact number of trapped miners could not be ascertained, witnesses and mine records confirmed over 40 people were in the mine at the time the walls caved in.
Chegutu Miners Association chairman, Innocent Nikisi confirmed the incident happened around 10am Friday.
“I can confirm that according to mine records, about 44 people are said to have been underground but only four escaped when the shaft walls collapsed,” he said.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya’s media department issued a statement Friday confirming the tragedy at the mine, which is an affiliate of ZMF.
“There has been a collapse of a mine shaft at one of our ZMF members’ mine. It is believed that about 42 people are still trapped underground and five have been rescued so far.
“We have since tasked our ZMF secretary general and Chegutu Miners Association chairman to go and establish the true facts on the ground and we shall keep you appraised of the rescue operations by the relevant teams,” said ZMF.
The mine is reportedly owned by one T. Sigauke.
Contrary to assertions that the mining management deserted the premises fearing interrogation on safety standards and practices, Nikisi said they avoided confrontation with an angry crowd.
Efforts to get comment from CPU national director, Nathan Nkomo and Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Mashonaland West provincial spokesperson, Inspector Margaret Chitove, were fruitless at the time of publishing.
In 2020 around the same time in September, five miners were trapped to death on the outskirts of Chegutu after a 110-metre mine shaft they were working in collapsed at Tusk Mine Syndicate.
Rescue efforts took weeks culminating in the retrieval of the bodies one after the other with the last being discovered on the 51st day. – Newzim