14 trapped in gold mine collapse

Relatives of those trapped inside gathered outside the mine and expressed concern for their loved ones.

The Chinese-financed RZT mine in Nyarugusu in the north-west collapsed partly on Wednesday, leaving a group of miners and their Chinese supervisor trapped.

There was no confirmation whether the workers were dead or alive.

Rescuers managed to insert an air pipe into the 35-metre-deep shaft, but failed to establish communication with the people inside, mining official Yahaya Semamba said.

“We are digging, but at the same time we are reinforcing the walls so as to prevent them from collapsing while the work is going on,” he said.

“When [my husband] walked out of the house on Wednesday evening, I thought I would see him the next morning, but until 10 p.m he was yet to return and I started to worry,” said a tearful Neema Charles, whose husband was among those trapped.

Regional official Ezekiel Kyunga reportedly said the cause of the accident was not yet known, and urged people not to jump to conclusions.

The accident is the third in gold mines in the same region in seven years. In April 2010, 16 people were killed when the mine in which they were working collapsed, while in October 2015, one person was killed and five rescued.

Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali, according to the East African country’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

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