At least 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday about 3pm local time (13:00 GMT) following heavy rains in the town of Kamituga in South Kivu province. Most of them are young people, according Provincial governor Theo Ngwabije Kasi. Mayor Alexandre Bundya blamed “soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident. The rock slide had hit three mine shafts. The locals have told the local media that the collapse happened as a river flooded.
Photos on social media showed hundreds of people gathered on a hillside around the mine-shaft entrance. Mining accidents are common in unregulated artisanal mines in Congo. A landslide at a disused gold mine killed 16 in October last year. “Investigations continue to identify our deceased compatriots, to provide assistance and to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies,” an official statement said. The area where the accident occurred is a delicate site and presents many risks. Mining is a notoriously dangerous occupation. Dozens of mine accident-related deaths are reported each year in the region.