Yoliswa Dube-Moyo and Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporters
SEVEN miners from Bucks Mine in Colleen Bawn are feared dead after hoisting ropes to a skip bringing them up the shaft from underground snapped, plunging them back on a free-fall of about 200 metres.
Sources said the skip dragged the miners to the bottom of the shaft and first respondents to the scene saw splatters of blood on the walls of the shaft going down.
The miners who had just finished a shift had been trapped underground from around 5PM on Saturday.
An official from the Ministry of Mines who preferred anonymity said the seven men were being pulled out a 200-metre-deep shaft in a cage when a rope snapped and the cage plunged into the shaft.
The official said a rescue team was in the process of draining water from the shaft to get to trapped miners.
“A team from the office is on the ground as well as a rescue team from Vumbachikwe Mine.
For now, the team is trying to drain water out of the shaft.
We fear that there might also be mud which will mean that we will have to scoop out the mud as well.
“This incident can be linked to negligence because first of all seven men were not supposed to be in that cage at once because it has a low carrying capacity. The rope was also weak to carry the cage,” he said.
“The guys were riding on a 1-ton size cocopan (ingorovane), up a vertical shaft slung on a wire rope which snapped towards the surface and they were plunged with the cocopan towards the shaft bottom, shaft has water and mud unknown depth at the bottom.”
Curious villagers were gathered around the mine as they waited for news on the miners.
One of the villagers, Mr Thando Sibanda said they heard of the accident at the gold mine and had been anxiously waiting for updates.
“Information has been coming in dribs and drabs so we don’t really know what’s happening.
It’s very unfortunate that this befell these miners.
We just heard that the ropes that were bringing up the shaft broke and they fell back into the mine.
We’re just sitting here waiting for more information,” said Mr Sibanda.
The owners of the mine had cordoned the area with tight security put in place controlling who gets in or out of the mine.
Police were attending to the scene.
Last night, Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Inspector Loveness Mangena said police had been called to the scene and investigations were underway.
“Police are still attending to the scene.
They’re trying to rescue them.
That’s all I can tell you for now,” said Insp Mangena.