Two bodies of illegal gold miners were retrieved from a collapsed mineshaft on Sunday in the eastern Mutasa District of Zimbabwe and 10 others are feared dead, media reported on Tuesday.
This followed the mishap which occurred at the weekend, the Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Rescue efforts were already underway at Premier Estate in Mutasa District, Manicaland Province, where the incident happened.
“The acting District Development Coordinator for Mutasa is currently on the ground to assess the situation and what we understand is that only two people were retrieved on Sunday.
“We are yet to ascertain the number of people trapped inside,” said Manicaland Provincial Development Coordinator and Civil Protection Unit head Edgars Seenza.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Nick Mangwana said the 10 illegal miners were feared to have been buried alive at the Premier Mining area along Mutare River.
The mining company is owned by Zimgold Fields, a privately owned company in Mutasa District.
Illegal mining of gold, which poses serious safety risks, is rampant in Zimbabwe and results in deaths of several people every year.
In September this year, five artisanal miners were trapped underground when a shaft collapsed at Task Gold Mine in Chegutu, Mashonaland West Province.
Two bodies of the five miners were only retrieved on Oct. 31, 51 days after the tragedy, while three others still remain trapped.