04 July 2017

Victims of Nsuta mining disaster respond to calls 48 hours after pit collapse

Over 48 hours after a mining pit caved in at a mining site in Prestea-Nsuta in the Western Region, rescue workers are optimistic there are surviving victims trapped in the pit.

Residents, some of whom are desperately searching for the victims say, some of the trapped miners are responding to their calls and calling for help.

It has emerged that 17 instead of 14 people, are unaccounted for in the latest galamsey disaster which happened on Sunday.

The pit, said to be more than 80 meters deep caved in on Sunday after a heavy downpour.

At least five people were rescued shortly after the disaster and have been assisting police with information about the number of possible victims trapped.

Despite the optimism of finding victims alive, the body of one of the victims was retrieved later Monday, Best FM’s Kojo Fletcher reported.

A team of police and fire service personnel are still on the site hoping to rescue more victims, alive or dead.

A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Benito Owusu-Bio is also present at the mining site helping with the rescue mission.

‘Fetish claims’

Days after the incident, a fetish priest in the area is claiming to have warned the illegal miners not to venture on Sunday because, if they did there would be a disaster.

He has warned that any attempt to rescue the victims will lead to further disaster.

But the Deputy Minister will not have the rescue mission to be defined by the traditional beliefs of a fetish priest.

He said they are concentrating on the rescue efforts in the hope of finding survivors.

The Deputy Minister was however, unequivocal that the action by the miners was illegal.

He said it is clear some recalcitrant miners are failing to heed to the order of the Ministry not to engage in illegal mining.

He warned the Ministry will engage the services of the military to put an end to the illegal mining activities in the country.

The latest mining disaster comes at a time when the government is waging war on illegal mining across the country.

A number of arrests have been made and excavators owned by the galamsey miners have been seized by the government taskforce set up to fight illegal mining.

The Nsuta pit collapse will provide extra motivation for the country to fight and possibly end the illegal mining activities which have destroyed the country’s environment and water bodies.

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