50 feared dead in DR Congo mine collapse

BUKAVU (AFP) – About 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following torrential rain, local authorities said yesterday.

The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday in the town of Kamituga, in South Kivu province.

Provincial Governor Theo Ngwabidje Kasi deplored “the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young”.

However, Kamituga Mayor Alexandre Bundya said “we are not yet sure of the exact number” of victims. A local resident who was at the scene, Jean Nondo, told AFP that “according to witnesses, there are more than 50 dead. There is only one survivor”.

He said a river close to the mine had flooded after torrential rain. “Water went into the three tunnels. When people tried to get out, there was no way as the water was flowing strongly, with high pressure,” he said.

Bundya blamed “soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident.

The mayor decreed a two-day mourning period and called on local residents to help extract the bodies from the ground.