Four illegal gold panners died instantly another was seriously injured Thursday evening in Penhalonga when an abandoned mine shaft they were scouring for gold deposits in collapsed on top of them.
The bodies of the deceased and the injured were all taken to Mutare provincial hospital.
There was sorrow at the homes of the four deceased - Michael Chapeta, Moses Chikwara, Virimai Tembo and one indentified as Jealous.
They were panning for gold in a 17-metre deep mine shaft in Tsvingwe, Penhalonga, witnesses said. Survivor Joseph Makoni is reportedly being treated at the Mutare provincial hospital where his condition is said to be stable.
Chapota’s survibing brother, Wellington, said he was lucky not to have got into the mine shaft at the time.
The surviving Chapota said people in the area assisted in the recovery of the bodies helped the survivor escape the mine shaft.
Jealousy Chipoka said the collapse of the mine shaft was unexpected.
Mutasa South Member of Parliament, Misheck Kagurabadza, said he was touched by the loss of life, adding that people must be empowered to ensure they do not risk their lives.
Manicaland provincial spokesperson Enock Chishiri confirmed he had heard about incident but did not want to comment as he did not have the details.