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3 more miners rescued, 1 trapped in Abimbo Mine

Efforts by rescue teams from the Siaya County Government, National Government and local residents to free the remaining four trapped miners at Abimbo Gold Mine bore fruit at around 2 am when three miners were recovered alive, leaving the last trapped miner in the collapsed rubble.

Siaya Deputy Governor, Dr. James Okumbe, accompanied by Health CEC, Dismas Wakla, paying a visit to the rescued miners at Bondo Referral Hospital. Photo by Calvin Otieno

This now brings the total number of rescued people to six, in the six days that the emergency teams have been digging up the collapsed mine.

Ten men had entered the 500-feet deep mine in search of the precious metal when the shaft caved in, one fatality was reported as two men escaped without injuries on the day of the tragedy.

Siaya Deputy Governor, Dr. James Okumbe, visited the survivors at Bondo Referral Hospital and thanked the team on ground in Abimbo, including the Kenya Red Cross for their efforts to get the trapped men out alive.

The Deputy Governor further assured those affected that the county government has stepped in to support those hospitalized for injuries sustained in the mining tragedy and pledged that the county will foot the hospital bill.

“We need to have a conversation with the National Government to see how we can support mining as an industry with proper policies that can go down to the County levels and ensure that the shafts are assessed to ensure safety standards and use of proper tools,” Okumbe added.

Okumbe said that the rescue operations are still actively going on at the site until the last miner is taken out of the shaft and all those involved in the operation are hopeful that it will be soon.

Jack Onyango who is one of the three miners who were rescued on the eve of 8th December narrated his ordeal while they were trapped in the shaft from 2nd of December in his hospital bed at Bondo Referral Hospital.

Onyango said that together with his two colleagues trapped below the rubble, they survived on salty water from the ground relying solely on a hosepipe that came from the ground above to pump oxygen and added the same mode was used to communicate with the rescue team above ground.

“I am pleading with my fellow youths to stop going into shafts to mine because what I have experienced and lived to tell the tale, I will quit that work because it is very dangerous,” Onyango said, adding that this was not the first time a mine shaft had collapse on him, the first incident being in January of 2021 but added that he escaped because the hole was shallow.

By Calvin Otieno

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