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18.04.2007 Disaster

Another ‘Galamsey’ Disaster - Nine Dead, More Trapped

Nine illegal miners are reported dead, while more are feared trapped in a pit at Nsuapim in the Wassa Amenfi East District of the Western Region.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Monday when the pit in which they were operating collapsed.

The dead are made up of six women and three men and their bodies have been conveyed to the Wassa Akropong Government Hospital.

A source stated that when the incident occurred, the people around failed to inform the community on time for the victims to be rescued.

When contacted, the Wassa Amenfi East District Chief Executive (DCE), Madam Doris Gyapomah Oduro, who described the situation as disastrous, said a rescue team from Golden Star (Bogoso Prestea Mines) Limited had to be called in to save the situation, since more people were alleged to have been trapped underground.

The DCE said it was not clear the number of people trapped in the pit, since the victims were illegal miners and there were no records on the number of people who were operating in the pit.

She said it was sad that young, able and energetic men and women could lose their lives in such a tragic manner.

When contacted, the Vice-President in charge of Operations of Golden Star Limited, Mr Colin J.S. Belshaw, said the company had information about the incident at about 5.00 p.m. on Monday.

He indicated that the area was not part of the company's concession but since human lives were involved, it was incumbent on it to go to their rescue.

Mr Belshaw said some personnel and equipment had been sent to the area to save the situation adding that his outfit had deployed the best safety and security equipment, as well as its human resource, to help the people.

The Deputy Western Regional Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Mr Francis Mills, said he had received the report on the disaster and the fact that Golden Star Limited had taken control of the situation.

Mr Mills commended Golden Star for moving in to help the people, even though the victims had been operating illegally.

Story by Moses Dotsey Aklorbortu

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