RESCUE workers in Zambia were still searching on Monday for at least 25 informal miners buried alive three days ago by a mudslide at an open-pit copper mine, said Reuters citing the country’s mines minister Paul Kabuswe.
The miners at Seseli Mine in Chingola, about 400km northwest of the capital Lusaka, were trapped in three places and heavy rains had flooded the pit, the government said.
Reuters said it was not immediately clear how many miners were trapped, but Kabuswe said 25 families had so far come forward to claim missing relatives who were working at the mine when the accident happened.
According to AP, seven miners were confirmed dead and more than 20 others were missing and presumed dead. No bodies had yet been retrieved after the landslides late on Thursday (November 30) night, police said. Many of the victims were believed to have drowned.
The rescue workers, including military personnel and others from large-scale mining companies, were being cautious due to the soft ground, slowing down the operation, Kabuswe said.
“We must be mindful that we shouldn’t have an accident within another accident,” Kabuswe said. Rescue workers were close to reaching the location where 16 miners were believed to have been trapped and would give an update on the operation on Tuesday, Kabuswe said.
“We are saddened to hear about the tragic accident at a makeshift mine site in Chingola that has claimed many lives,” Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said in a post on his official Facebook page.
“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who died in the accident. We express gratitude to the rescuers and volunteers working tirelessly to reach those still trapped.”