8 miners rescued from flooded mine in Zimbabwe

Rescue workers fear more than 50 illegal miners trapped inside mine

8 miners rescued from flooded mine in Zimbabwe

By John Cassim

Kadoma, Zimbabwe

At least eight illegal miners, out of more than 50 feared trapped in a disused mine, were rescued on Saturday, eye witnesses said.

Heavy rains on Tuesday night flooded two mines in Battlefield area, near Kadoma, a gold-rich town situated 190 kilometers (118 miles) southwest of capital Harare.

They had not been employed by a mining company but had gathered in their own capacity to dig for gold in the deserted mines.

“We managed to rescue eight miners today, the flooding occurred on Tuesday but due to heavy rains in the area the rescue operations were hampered.

"We are also appealing for resources worth $200,000 to accomplish the rescue operation because the tunnels are narrow and muddy,” Cicilia Chitiyo, who heads the provincial Civil Protection Unit (CPU), told Anadolu Agency.

There was a somber atmosphere at the mines on Saturday as rescue teams battled to reach miners still trapped underground. 

Nearly a hundred people including close relatives waited patiently for their loved ones to be retrieved.

“I wish they could quickly reach the miners so that we get closure, my son aged 25 and his cousin are still trapped underground from Tuesday.

"I lost hope but after seeing eight people coming out alive, I am now optimistic my son could still be alive,” 55-year-old Netsai Gwede said.

Christine Mauta’s brother is one of those trapped underground. She expressed concern over the slow operations.

“I am worried now because of the passage of time. Yes I saw some being rescued alive but the time they are taking is worrying, what if he is still alive,” she said sobbing.

The government has declared the mine flooding accident a national disaster.

Zimbabwe's economy is in crisis with an unemployment rate of 80 percent.

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