Mining | National

2 dead, 11 others trapped in galamsey pit collapse

At least two people have been confirmed dead, with 11 others trapped after a mining pit collapsed at Patriensa in the Asante-Akyem Central District of the Ashanti Region.

The deceased have been identified as one Abubakar 35, and Alhassan 25, all residents of the community.

Two others have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

The tragic incident reportedly happened at 3:00am Monday, when the illegal miners descended into the trenches to look for gold.

A colleague of the deceased told Joy News the tragedy could be blamed on the "stubborn" attitude of the victims.

He disclosed many of them were mining last night when military officers came to drive them away at 10pm. The deceased and those trapped returned to the mining ground after the officers left, he said.

Although he said their living conditions compelled them into the illegal mining, he believes the tragic incident could have been avoided.

‘I can’t confirm if some are in the pit,’ he told Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor, adding there could still be people underneath the pit.

The Konongo police boss, Superintendent Ohene Boadi Bossman has said they will be compelled to use an excavator to see if they could discover more bodies.

The Patriensa tragedy comes two weeks after another pit caved in on some illegal miners in Prestea-Nsuta in the Western Region.

The two disasters have been recorded at a time there is renewed fight by the government to clamp down on illegal mining.

The government upon instruction by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has deployed more than 400 personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Police Service, to end the practice.

The activities of illegal miners have led to the destruction of Ghana’s forest reserves and water bodies. The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development residents have blamed on operations of illegal miners.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Galamsey Taskforce, Major Gariba Paddy has disclosed, his men have been tasked to arrest people who are found engaging in illegal mining.

He noted the fully-armed officers will defend themselves if attacked by miners in the course of their operations.