The collapse of a mine shaft in West Nicholson, southern Zimbabwe, claimed the life of a 16-year-old, with the teenager’s colleague sustaining serious injuries, police authorities have confirmed.

According to Matabeleland South provincial police spokesperson Chief Inspector Philisani Ndebele, the tragic incident occured on Thursday around 6pm at Geelong Mine in West Nicholson, Matabeleland South province.

Chief Inspector Ndebele said the name of the deceased was being held until his next-of-kin are notified while adding that the late teenager’s colleague, who is 22, was admitted to Gwanda Provincial Hospital.

“I can confirm that we recorded a mine accident which occurred in Geelong Mine where a 16-year-old teenager died. The now deceased and his associate aged 22 years old were working in a shaft when it collapsed and trapped them underneath. They screamed for help and a security guard who was at a neighbouring mine heard them and rushed to their rescue,” Chief Inspector Ndebele told the state media.

“He managed to retrieve them from the shaft but the 16-year-old teenager had already died while his associate was rushed to Gwanda Provincial Hospital where he is in a serious condition. The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene. The deceased’s body was taken to the Gwanda Provincial Hospital mortuary,” said Ndebele.

He also warned members of the public against engaging in illegal mining activities, adding that this puts their lives at risk.

“Illegal mining activities continue to be a problem in the province and we want to warn culprits as the long arm of the law will catch up with them. On Thursday we arrested 13 people who were prospecting for gold without licences and they are set to appear in court,” revealed the provincial police spokesperson.

On another tragic note, the police is appealing for assistance in locating the relatives of a man, Khumbulani Mhlanga, whose body has been lying uncollected at the United Bulawayo Hospitals mortuary for the past three months.

Mhlanga, believed to be from Lupane, was stabbed to death on March 21 2020, at Claremount Mine in the Fort Rixon area.

According to the police, the deceased Mhlanga had stayed at Claremount Mine for close to 13 years.

“On 21 March he was stabbed to death on the chest with a knife at Claremount Mine. He could be in his mid-30s, is approximately 1,57 metres tall and is dark in complexion. Relatives who have a family member that went missing during the corresponding period or who went away on gold panning activities are requested to contact Chief Inspector Ndebele on 08428-22810 or 0715 431 235/0773 594 899 or the investigating officer Sgt Chimbazaza on 0772503606. They can also contact any nearest police station,” said Chief Insp Ndebele.

state media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews