By Judith Sibanda
Bubi, July 02, 2016 – TWO miners died while three others were critically injured after a mine shaft in which they were panning for gold at Turk Mine in Bubi District collapsed and trapped them underground on Friday.
A Turkmine worker who only identified himself as Zhou said the accident happened in the early hours of Friday after an underground trench collapsed and trapped them.
“The guys who died and some who are seriously injured were on night duty. The underground trench collapsed and they got trapped but we are not sure about the exact time.
“Police have so far retrieved only two corpses while the other three whom at first were feared dead have regained consciousness and they are admitted at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
“The rescue teams are still searching for other colleagues but however police fear that some people might be still trapped there because the trench had become risky and it had signs of collapsing but we never thought it could be this soon,” said Zhou.
Officer commanding Inyathi District, Chief Superintendent Tembo said he was not aware of the accident as he was in Hwange during the day for a soccer match.
“I haven’t been at the office today. I was travelling to Hwange for our weekend match so l cannot give you details. This is news to me as well but l will get back to you as soon as l get all the details but I don’t promise you anything because we are busy at the ground,” said Tembo.
However, another worker who commented on condition of anonymity for professional treasons said even though they were aware that there were some risks and challenges in working at the mine, they had no choice because most of them are breadwinners.
“One can’t complain about working conditions because you will be risking losing your job. We are therefore forced to work under dangerous conditions because we don’t have a choice,” said the worker.
Others claimed that it was not the first time such casualties occurred and less was done to avoid them.
“End of 2014, one worker died while three others were trapped near the same spot after a shaft collapsed on them and they got trapped,” he said.
“Once a worker is injured the companies blames the workers for the injuries, they don’t acknowledge that they are at fault.”