Survivor rescued from collapsed mine in Zambia
A man has been rescued from a copper mine in Zambia several days after being trapped by a landslide, officials announced on Wednesday.
An open-pit mine in the country’s Copperbelt Province was blocked by debris last Friday, trapping 38 people working illegally at the site. Two bodies have so far been retrieved, but have not yet been identified.
According to a statement by Zambia’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, a survivor was found on Tuesday night. Although his condition has not been disclosed, he is currently in the hospital and is speaking to officials.
“A 49-year-old man has been rescued from the collapsed mine slug dump site in Chingola after being trapped with several other miners,” it said.
Determining the exact number of people trapped inside the tunnels has been a challenge for the authorities, as the owner of the pit was reportedly unaware that miners had been illegally searching for copper ore at night.
“Officially we have about 38 people whose families have come to claim they are missing,” the minister for Copperbelt Province, Elisha Matambo, said.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema visited the mine on Tuesday, expressing hope that more survivors would be found.
“Our commitment is to do everything to save the lives that are down there,” Hichilema stated. “Our job is to take our people out of the pit.”
Zambia is one of the top ten copper producers in the world. The city of Chingola has extensive open-pit mines stretching for kilometers, many of which are surrounded by large piles of extracted rocks and soil.
According to the government, last week’s incident was caused by debris from a waste pile falling onto tunnels at the mine.