By HSE East Africa | Wednesday May 9, 2018
At least six people are feared dead in a gold mine in Migori County after a tunnel collapsed.
The victims were buried alive in Macalder Mines in Nyatike sub-county, located 40 kilometres from Migori Town. It was reported that the victims were in the deep tunnels when the soil caved in due to the heavy rains currently pounding the region.
“It is true that at least six people are trapped in the mines. We are looking for excavators to remove heaps of soil," said Mr Apollo Ogutu, the Nyatike sub county administrator.
He said the heavy rains might have weakened the walls of the tunnels. Police from Nyatike, who rushed to the scene, were unable to evacuate the victims due to lack of relevant equipment.
The miners usually go more than 100 feet down to look for gold. Mines in Nyatike have claimed many lives every year but that has not deterred the residents from looking for gold.
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In June 2017, a gold miner died from suspected asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide from a generator used to pump water from the Masara mine in Migori. A similar incident occurred at the Osiri Gold mine in April 2016 resulting in the death of one miner and injuring four others. The mine’s ventilation was reportedly blocked following a landslide while the five were still inside. In 2015, two men aged 23 and 24 years died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the same location. The two suffocated when they tried to pump out water from the mine using a petrol-powered generator.
In December 2014, two gold miners died while seven others escaped death narrowly after a mine collapsed in Osiri. The mine walls collapsed at dawn due to heavy rains the previous night.