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Miner crushed to death by boulder

By Whinsley Masara

A miner at Inyathi in Matabeleland North was crushed to death by a boulder while working in a pit. Willard Mpofu (29) of New Land Syndicate Mine, Sijauke area, sustained multiple head injuries on his head resulting in his instant death.

A collapsed mine shaft
A collapsed mine shaft

The incident occurred at around 7AM on Saturday and his colleagues managed to retrieve the body at around 3PM.

Matabeleland North Provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the incident.

“I can confirm the sudden death of a miner who died after he was crushed by a huge boulder while working in a pit about 24 metres deep while two other miners remained outside. The now deceased’s colleagues were startled by a huge crashing sound which prompted them to check on their colleague.

“One of the miners went down the shaft and discovered that Mpofu was trapped under a boulder. He was already dead,” she said.

Fellow workmates retrieved the body and a report was made to police who attended the scene.

The body was ferried to Inyathi District Hospital Mortuary enroute to Mpilo Central Hospital Mortuary for post mortem.

Chief Insp Makonese urged members of the public to desist from mining in unsecured shafts and to follow safety precautions to avoid unnecessary deaths and injuries.

A miner that spoke on condition of anonymity said Mpofu commenced duty at the mine shaft with Mr Anele Mthunkela (23) and Bekithemba Hadebe (35), all of Sijauke Area.

“Mpofu went underground into the shaft, about 24 metres deep, to load gold ore into a bucket while the other two were pulling the bucket from outside. While pulling the bucket that was full of ore from the shaft, they heard a loud crash.

“Hadebe quickly rushed to inform Mr Dilowonga Dlamini (33), the mine owner who was also at the mine at the time of the tragedy,” said the source.

He said the two rushed back to the scene and Mr Mthunkela went underground to check on Mpofu.

The miner said he found him trapped under a huge rock.  Chronicle

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