Trapped miners in east Congo tumble out of rubble intact in viral video

28th March 2023

By: Reuters


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A video showing nine Congolese miners unexpectedly popping out of a collapsed gold mine and tumbling down a steep slope as onlookers cry out in joy has gone viral in Democratic Republic of Congo, a rare happy ending to an all-too-common story.

Mining accidents are rife in the giant Central African country, especially at small, artisanal sites such as the one in South Kivu province that collapsed on Saturday following heavy rain.

The video shows a man precariously perched on the side of a steep slope of rubble, frantically digging with a spade while a group of other men stand in a large circle around him, watching.

All of a sudden, a miner pops out of the rubble and slides down the slope, borne by his own momentum, as the onlookers break out in cheers of surprise and delight.

The rescuer is then seen redoubling his efforts, forsaking the spade to dig through the rubble with his bare hands. Another miner soon appears, then another, and within two minutes a total of nine men have come out alive and well.

Reuters has verified the video, which was widely shared on social media.

A lack of safety procedures and proper equipment are at the root of frequent tunnel collapses at Congolese mines, in which miners are trapped underground with slim chances of survival.

Two miners died in a similar incident at a nearby informal digging site in early March.

Against that backdrop, hopes were dim as rescue efforts began after Saturday's incident.

"We quickly mobilized people to clear the rubble that was blocking the entrance. It was on the morning of this Saturday... that they managed to save these nine souls," local civil society representative Crispin Kayuka told Reuters via telephone.

Edited by Reuters



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