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THREE gold panners were crushed to death at Geelong Mine in West Nicholson while the fourth one was seriously injured during an ill-fated search for gold in a 400 metre deep mineshaft. The bodies of the three men were retrieved yesterday at around 11AM following their death around midnight on Saturday. Three of the victims were brothers; two who died Bonnet Phiri, 39 and Milton, 35 and the only survivor Willard, 41, who suffered neck, chest and leg injuries and was admitted to Gwanda Provincial Hospital following the tragic incident. The brothers’ colleague Kenvas Muyambo, 30, is the third fatality. All the four illegal gold miners hail from Mavago area, Filabusi under Chief Maduna.
A rock fell on the four as they were underground panning illegally in a disused mine around midnight. One of the four miners who survived managed to notify others and he was rescued during the wee hours of yesterday (Sunday) morning.
The mine was closed last year by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development but some gold panners were mining there illegally.
Those who witnessed the bodies being retrieved said it was a ghastly sight as the illegal miners were severely crushed.
“One of the bodies was in a bad state. We had to put the remains in a 50 kilogramme sack. We assume that he was standing when the rock fell and it hit him hard from the head and his whole body was crushed. We had to pick up the intestines as well, that’s how bad it was,” said the witness who preferred anonymity.- Source-chronicle