Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Death toll in Chegutu mine disaster rises to 10 as owner goes into hiding

CHEGUTU – The collapse of Bay Horse gold mine in Chegutu, 100km (62 miles) west of the capital Harare on Friday morning has now claimed the lives of 10 miners according to mine officials.

Its being reported elsewhere that the mine owner, Tendai Sigauke was nowhere to seen with unconfirmed reports suggesting he had gone into hiding.

Efforts to reach those who remain underground are ongoing, the state run ZBC reported. It is not known what caused the collapse.

The Zimbabwe Miners Federation said its secretary general and the Chegutu Miners Association chairman would go to the site to try to establish what happened.

Bayhorse Mine blasting engineer Hussein Phiri, in an interview with ZimLive, said it is very difficult to remove the bodies as the mine shaft was still collapsing.

“We could hear the other side of the mine collapsing as we were underground.

“So our lives are also at risk but we are trying our best to retrieve the bodies.

“There are three bodies we are yet to locate but we can clearly see six bodies but it has been difficult to get closer to them because there is a large rock boulder supporting the ground above them while standing on our way.

“If we remove that boulder, it’s most likely that the whole mine will collapse on us.

“It’s becoming too dangerous for us each time we try but we are doing our best,” he said.

Phiri said the located miners were all dead.

“We are convinced all the six are dead,” he said.

Mines minister Soda Zhemu, who also spent the day at the mine, said 34 miners were underground during the time of the collapse.

“Immediately after the collapse, 13 people managed to escape unhurt. That leaves 21 people who were underground.

“During the night, about eight people were rescued out of the 21.

“Three bodies have been accounted for and confirmed as deceased. That leaves 10 people underground,” he said.

“We are already talking to the DDC for checkout.

“She was telling us that they convened a meeting with various stakeholders to come up with assistance that will be required already.

“Some mine big minds have been approached. And they are in the process of providing assistance in terms of the retrieval of the people that are still underground.

“Not only that, we have also managed to come into the space to also give assistance.

“…As for how easy or difficult is it been, are we confident that all will be released.”

Added the minister, “it shows that a space of about 100 meters by 20 meters is what is actually collapsed.

“It requires removal of the boulders that have just closed the way.

“So at this point, I wouldn’t be very certain to say it is going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult unless a report has been provided.

“…We’re also trying to do some evaluations to ascertain whether the rescue operations would be successfully conducted.”