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5 killed in gold mine accident

05 July 2013, 10:37

Migori - At least five people were buried alive on Wednesday evening in a village in Western while their colleagues escaped after the walls caved in, local rescue organization said.

Kenya Red Cross Kisumu County officer Emmanuel Richard said four people were still trapped in the minefield by late Wednesday, while five had already been confirmed dead with two being rushed to the hospital.

Richard said the five died after the walls of the mine they were working in caved in at Arombe village in Migori County. Rescue efforts complicated the situation after the rescuers were trapped in the mines when the walls caved in further.

Divisional police commander Alfred Makoma said on Thursday the group were draining out water from the caves after a heavy downpour in preparation for excavation when the incident occurred.

Makoma said among those who were rushed to the hospital were rescuers who inhaled toxic carbon dioxide gas from the generators in their attempts to rescue their colleagues.

"Reports indicate the hole had about 40 people, we are yet to establish the whereabouts of others but so far we have confirmed that five are dead and two more are still trapped inside," Makoma said.

Makoma said the miners had just entered the mines at Arombe mining ground when the walls caved in on them, killing the five instantly while rescuers managed to save five of them.

He said preliminary investigation reveals that the walls of the mine were weakened by the heavy rain pounding the area, forcing them to cave in.

Efforts are still underway to retrieve their bodies from the mining field. The divisional police commander called on the locals and miners to restrain from prospecting gold, especially during the rainy season.

Last year, Parliamentary Committee on Land and Natural Resources had issued a warning on the safety of minefield and urged relevant government authorities to take seriously the issue of mining and safety of the miners.


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