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Bodies of victims of Esigodini mine shaft collapse retrieved

By Nqobile Tshili

Three of the four workers at Esikhoveni Mine in Esigodini, Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South who were buried alive in a 60-metre-deep shaft on Tuesday have been retrieved dead, one of them decapitated.

Workers try to rescue four miners who are feared dead at Esikhoveni Mine in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province, yesterday. — Picture: Eliah Saushoma
Workers try to rescue four miners who are feared dead at Esikhoveni Mine in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province. — Picture: Eliah Saushoma

The quartet was working under a shed at the company’s premises before a shaft caved in burying them under the debris.

Police identified the four as Tapiwa Moyo (41), Dumisani Sibanda (43), Andrea Malunga (73) and Ashton Swilimba (86).

Umzingwane district development coordinator, Mr Peter Mahlathini, who chairs the district Civil Protection Unit said one body was found on Wednesday night while the other two were recovered yesterday.

“Three bodies have been recovered so far. It seems there is a challenge on the ground although work is still in progress to retrieve the fourth one. The first body was retrieved around 8PM on Wednesday and his body was decomposing as his head had been cut off. The head was also found.

“The other two were found this (yesterday) morning, their bodies still intact,” said Mr Mahlathini.

By 6PM yesterday the fourth body was yet to be retrieved.

He appealed to mining companies to collaborate in disaster cases to expedite rescue efforts.

“As it stands the owner of Esikhoveni Mine is all alone with his employees. Community members have also chipped in as they realised that this situation requires people to join their hands in solving the problem. As it stands, we have about 30 community members being part of the rescue efforts, so that we retrieve the last body. So, in future we appeal to the mining community to join the rescue efforts during such disasters,” he said.

Mr Mahlathini said bodies of the deceased were taken to the mortuary at Esigodini District Hospital.

He, however, did not release names of the retrieved miners saying that information can be obtained from the police.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the names will be released today.

“I can confirm that three bodies have been retrieved but for their names get in touch with me tomorrow,” said Asst Comm Nyathi. The Chronicle

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