Sand quarry collapses burying six miners in Bomet County

By Edwin Makiche

Bomet, Kenya: A mining activity at Kyogong area, in Bomet County Friday turned tragic after the quarry collapsed burying six miners alive.

The mid-morning incident happened after the upper part of the deeply excavated sand quarry collapsed sending   large boulders to cover the miners who were scooping sand from a deeper side of the mine.

It took over two hours for the rescue team to mobilize equipment to remove the rubble. However, the earth moving equipment was of little help as the victims were said to be holed up at different locations.

During the initial stages of the rescue operation, voices of the victims could be heard as they called for help but lack of specialised rescue staff and equipment hampered the process.

By 3pm on Friday, one survivor had been rescued by a team led by medics from Tenwek Hospital and Red Cross. One dead body had also been removed.

Area police led by Police Service County Commander Leah Kithei had hard time controlling curious crowd that had gathered around the mine to witness the incident.

Leaders led by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and Bomet deputy governor Stephen Mutai also visited the site.

 Speaking to The Standard, Bomet county Medical Officer Nickson Mutai said the rescue officers were working around the clock to ensure that they rescue the remaining miners alive. He however regretted that high temperatures coupled with the state of the mine posed a challenge.

Koech who survived the tragedy by a whisker told The Standard that he ran for his dear life after he discovered that the upper part of the 10 meter deep mine was collapsing.

He said that his fellow miners who were in a deeper side of the miner were caught up in the rubble before they could move out.

The accident occurred amid the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) order stopping the miners from extracting sand from the killer quarry.

Similar incident had occurred in the area four years ago killing four miners.