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23.08.2005 General News

Rescue efforts to recover bodies of galamsey operators suspended

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Noyem (E/R), Aug. 23, GNA - The joint AngloGold Ashanti/Newmont/Dunkwa Continental companies' rescue operations to locate and retrieve the alleged 40 galamsey operators trapped in four caved-in pits near Noyem in the Birim North District, has been suspended indefinitely until directives from the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines.

The suspension on Monday followed the unsuccessful efforts by the rescue team to recover the bodies allegedly trapped underground 12 days earlier.

Senior Inspector of Mines at the Mines Department, Mr Obiri Yeboah Twumasi said all the 10 holes drilled by the tractor-mounted rig as part of the effort had become flooded and the night vision camera, which was to be used to detect the alleged bodies could not be deployed. Excavation work, he said, had also been suspended when the hole being dug to locate the bodies began to cave in, which it was feared, could cause another disaster.

Mr John Baidoo, leader of the rescue team, said members of the team had already left to their stations but some of them would return later to refill the pits dug by the excavator. Meanwhile, the galamsey operations had been continuing vigorously in spite of the incident.