Two miners died while another escaped death by a whisker when Jerera Gold Mine in Chiweshe collapsed on Tuesday.
One of the deceased, Godfrey Chinakidzwa, was employed as a security officer at Mazowe Rural District Council and worked part- time at the mine.
Osterman Kahondo, who also died in the mishap that has shaken the community around Kamoto Village, was an employee at the mine.
When the NewsDay crew visited the Kahondo family, a sombre mood engulfed the Kamoto (Chogwiza) village.
Family members of one of the deceased, Kahondo, refused to speak about what happened instead preferring that the owner of the gold mine explain what had transpired on the fateful day.
Narrating the ordeal, Jerera mine owner, Wenard Jekera, who had initially refused to speak before he was forced to do so by angry relatives who threatened to beat him up, said the incident occurred around 10am and everything seemed normal.
“When the mine collapsed there were three people working underground,” said Jerera. “They were tracing a belt that they believed was rich in gold ore. Unfortunately, as they continued their search the mine collapsed.”
He said one employee was lucky to escape as the mine caved in while he was on the ladder on his way out of the mine.
“I have been contemplating closing the mine for some time as it was no longer viable to operate. It is, however, unfortunate that such an incident happened.”
Jerera promised to meet all the funeral expenses and to look into the issue of compensating families of the deceased.
Villagers tried in vain using picks and shovels for close to six hours to rescue the two.
By the time they were pulled out around 1700 hours, they were already dead.
Villagers expressed displeasure at the conduct of the police, whom they accused of not assisting during the recovery process but who “took a supervisory role”.