KweKwe (New Ziana) – Only five miners, not over 20, had been trapped at a collapsed mine in KweKwe, a senior local administration official said on Friday.
A tunnel collapse at Globe and Phoenix Mine on Thursday trapped miners underground, with initial reports putting the number as high as 25.
Two bodies were immediately recovered, leading to fears as many as 25 miners may have died in the accident.
But KweKwe District Development Co-Ordinator, Fortune Mupundu, who is also chairman of the local committee of the Civil Protection Unit, told New Ziana only five miners were underground at the time of the collapse of the tunnel, and confirmed two had died.
Another two, he said, had been injured, and one came out unscathed.
“I can confirm only two died. The figure of 20 is an exaggeration by the social media,” he said.
He said of the five trapped miners, three were employees of the mine, and two illegal panners who sneaked in unauthorised when operations closed for the day.
The mine closes at six in the evening each day, but the trapped miners illegally went underground at seven at night.
Mupundu said mine officials and others were notified of the tunnel collapse by the miner who escaped unscathed, setting in motion the rescue efforts.
He said army engineers had also joined the rescue, and were assessing the state of mine.