Bodies of 7 miners pulled from shaft following Colleen Bawn mine tragedy

GWANDA – Six of the seven bodies of miners who died last Saturday at Bucks Mine near Colleen Bawn were brought to the surface on Tuesday.

Work continued into the evening to recover the seventh body which has been located by rescuers.

The miners died when they plunged down a 240-meter shaft after a rope that was pulling a cart carrying them snapped.

“We have been able to recover six bodies. We were taking out the bodies and pumping out water at the same time because there is so much water,” chief government mining engineer Michael Munodawafa said late Tuesday.

He said the retrieval process was taking long because of the depth of the shaft.

“They went down as far as 200 metres,” he said. “We are aiming to retrieve all bodies today (Tuesday).”

Cleopas Karima, the rescue captain of the nearby Vubachikwe Mine said: “This has been a difficult recovery considering the state of the mine. It’s a hard situation especially considering that these bodies have been in water since Saturday up to now. Imagine the foul smells, water with blood and so on.”

Munodawafa said the accident happened when the seven miners were being pulled out using a mining cage.

“They were in a pan which is used to carry ore from underground, more or less like a small cart, so they were using the top part of the cart as a mining cage,” Munodawafa explained.

“A rope that was pulling them gave up as they were approaching the collar of the shaft.”

Families of the seven miners were on standby to identify their bodies.

The mine had been abandoned and its new owners only resumed operations earlier this month.

Government engineers have raised safety concerns at the mine.

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