Four people believed to be illegal gold miners are presumed dead after an abandoned gold mine shaft in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, collapsed Saturday while they were looking for gold.
According to Buletsi Nyathi of the Youth in Mining Council of Zimbabwe, the local fire brigade has failed to rescue the miners, leading to an all-out effort by Gwanda residents who are using obsolete equipment to dig them out of the shaft.
Nyathi said rescue efforts are being hampered by thick smoke coming out of the mine shaft, about five kilometers north-west of the town.
“We don’t know the cause of the smoke and indications are that the four have already died inside the mine shaft,” he said.
Police in Gwanda said investigations are in progress and declined to comment any further.
At least four people died last year in similar circumstances in one of the mine shafts north of the provincial capital.
There are many abandoned gold mine shafts in and around Gwanda.