By Brecken Branstrator
Bindura, Zimbabwe—Several dozen miners remain trapped and are feared dead after a shaft in an abandoned gold mine in Zimbabwe collapsed last week.

Wellington Takavarasha, head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, is cited in local reports as saying that the accident happened at the Ran Mine in Bindura—located about 43 miles northeast of the capital city of Harare—on Nov. 25 due to uncontrolled blasting by informal miners.

The Ran Mine closed 10 years ago but workers, in desperate need of money, still dig in the area in an effort to find gold.

An estimated 40 miners were working when the shaft collapsed.

Six of them were rescued almost immediately and sent to a hospital, but further rescue operations at the site were stalled for a few days due to flooding.

Emails sent to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation and the country’s Ministry of Information on Monday went unanswered by press time, but government spokesman Nick Mangwana confirmed in a Tweet on Monday that the first body had been retrieved from the site.

The accident at Ran follows a few other mining disasters in the country in recent weeks, including a mine collapse in Esigodini killing six miners, and five more dying when mines in Chegutu collapsed, according to The Guardian.

The news site reports the combination of high unemployment and COVID-19 lockdowns has pushed even more people into risky mining practices as they struggle to get by.

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