Wife of trapped miner hopeful he is still alive

She says the last time she saw her husband was on Wednesday night when he told her that he was leaving for the night shift before the mining tragedy happened.

"He bid me farewell as usual and I was sure that he would come back home alive as always after his night shift, but I was shocked yesterday evening to receive sad news that he was among the 12 who were trapped in the mine," said Indoshi.

She said before the sad news reached her, she was worried as her husband took a long time to come back home after the night shift.

"He normally comes back at around midday after the night shift but on Thursday things were different, only to learn later through a friend that he was among the 12," she said.

Her mother Caroline Masinde, who is also at the site, said she had come to keep her daughter company and offer physical and emotional support.

"As you can see my daughter is young and new in the marriage therefore she needs emotional and psychological support in this trying moment and we are praying and optimistic that he will come out alive," said Masinde.

The rescuers' efforts to find Machachu alive were dashed when the compressor that pumps oxygen into the shaft developed problems and stopped.

Godfrey Mavia, the leader of the rescue team, said the pipe failed yesterday at around 8pm due to mechanical problems.

"We spent almost eight hours in the shaft without oxygen before we got another compressor but we are optimistic that we will get him alive," he said.

Kakamega County Commissioner John Ondego said they had dispatched a rescue team from the national government, Red Cross rescue team and ambulances.

"We had brought rescue machines but due to the nature of shaky soil and land we put them on hold because we can decide to use them and later bring more disaster. That is why we are still weighing friendly machines to rescue the remaining three if things worsen," said Ondego.

He banned mining activities at night and ordered the licensing of all miners and mining sites.

"We have banned all activities at night and we are calling upon the National Environmental and Management Authority to assess all the mining sites and close those that are at risk and have not met the required standards and close gold sites that do not have a license," said Ondego.