At least 50 people are feared dead after a gold mine collapsed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), local authorities have said.
The accident in the makeshift mine occurred on Friday about 3pm local time (13:00 GMT) following heavy rains in the town of Kamituga in South Kivu province.
Provincial governor Theo Ngwabije Kasi deplored “the tragic deaths of 50 people, most of them young”.
Kamituga Mayor, Alexandre Bundya blamed “soil subsidence caused by torrential rain” for the accident and said “the exact number of victims” was not yet known. He declared a two-day mourning period and urged local residents to help extract the bodies from the ground.
“Several miners were in the shaft which was covered and no one could get out,” said president of the Initiative of Support and Social Supervision of Women, Emiliane Itongwa.
Photos and videos on social media showed hundreds of people at the site, some of whom could be heard wailing on a hillside around the mine-shaft entrance.