Harare: Over 60 gold miners are believed to have died in two mining shafts after a nearby dam burst in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province, authorities have said.
The number of illegal miners who could have been trapped was estimated at between 60 and 70, Xinhua news agency quoted Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo as saying on Friday.
In a statement, Moyo said hopes of finding survivors are fading following heavy rains that pounded the area during night.
Rescuers successfully pumped out water from two interlinked tunnels, and work to retrieve the bodies is expected to start on Saturday, he added.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the incident a ‘State of Disaster’ on Friday.
Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said the tragedy was a big wake-up call for mining authorities and the miners on the need to adhere to safety standards.