3 Zim­bab­weans die in dis­used Jo’burg mine

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Leonard Ncube and Thu­peyo Mu­leya

THREE Zim­bab­weans died while one was res­cued af­ter an ex­plo­sion at a dis­used 130 year-old gold mine near Jo­han­nes­burg in South Africa, amid fears that more are still trapped un­der­ground.

Three bod­ies were re­trieved be­tween Mon­day and yes­ter­day fol­low­ing the gas ex­plo­sion at Langlaagte Gold Mine last week. There were re­port­edly more than 200 Zim­bab­weans work­ing at the mine when the ex­plo­sion oc­curred last Wed­nes­day. The three Zim­bab­weans died while try­ing to save a col­league who had been trapped at one of the three old­est gold mines that were dis­cov­ered in 1886 and has over 6 000 en­try points.

The South African press re­ported yes­ter­day that res­cuers had ear­lier re­trieved one body, but sus­pended op­er­a­tions on Mon­day af­ter they hit a dead end in the deeper end of the shaft.

Zim­bab­weans liv­ing in South Africa re­port­edly mo­bilised them­selves fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of the search and re­trieved two other bod­ies.

The chair­per­son of Zim­bab­wean Com­mu­nity in South Africa Mr Ngqabutho Ni­cholas Mab­hena yes­ter­day told The Chron­i­cle that they had iden­ti­fied the de­ceased as Wil­lard Ny­oni from Lu­pane while the other two dead are from Tsholot­sho and Nkayi, but their names were not im­me­di­ately availed.

The mine tragedy sur­vivor, a Ny­oni was said to be from Gokwe.

“There were about 200 min­ers in the shaft on Septem­ber 7 when there was a gas ex­plo­sion at around 4AM. A ma­jor­ity of them es­caped while one re­mained be­hind. The fol­low­ing morn­ing (Thurs­day) 15 Zim­bab­weans who had been work­ing in the mine vol­un­teered to go down the shaft to res­cue him and only eight of them came out five hours later,” said Mr Mab­hena.

From the seven who re­mained un­der­ground, three came out of the tun­nel on Saturday while the other four re­mained trapped.

“A res­cue team from the Min­istry of Mines and Re­sources joined the search on Sun­day and res­cued one man from Gokwe who was still alive but weak and he was rushed to hos­pi­tal and at night they re­trieved the body of Wil­lard Ny­oni from Lu­pane be­fore call­ing off the res­cue op­er­a­tion,” said Mr Mab­hena.

He said some of the sur­vivors were ar­rested as soon as they emerged from the mine for il­le­gal min­ing.

He said on Mon­day af­ter­noon when a res­cue team aban­doned the search, 20 Zim­bab­weans vol­un­teered to search for their col­leagues and man­aged to re­trieve two bod­ies.

“Those who were ar­rested are de­tained at Sun City De­ten­tion Camp and we’ve set our tar­gets as res­cu­ing those who are trapped be­fore we can en­gage on the fate of the sus­pects. Of­fi­cials from the Zim­bab­wean Em­bassy are aware of the is­sue as they vis­ited the mine yes­ter­day af­ter­noon,” added Mr Mab­hena.

Zim­babwe’s Con­sul Gen­eral to South Africa, Mr Bati­raishe Mukonoweshuro con­veyed his con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased.

He com­mended Fair Fu­neral Par­lour and Zim­bab­weans who of­fered help in the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent. The fu­neral par­lour said it was go­ing to pro­vide coffins for the de­ceased.—@ncubeleon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.