65 Feared Dead in Tanzania Mine

Six recovered, 59 missing as flash floods combine with downed power lines
By Kate Rockwood,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2008 11:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rescuers now fear that 65 miners trapped in a northern Tanzanian mine shaft have drowned, reports Reuters, with six bodies recovered and 59 workers missing. Volunteers raced to the remote gemstone mine near Mount Kilimanjaro yesterday when flash floods swept through the area, but the torrential weather also brought down electricity poles, crippling rescue efforts. In the eight affected pits, 35 people were found alive.

The violet-blue gemstone tanzanite can only be found in Mererani, the city where the mines are located, and mining accidents and unsafe conditions are relatively common in the area. Blistering seasonal rains have swept through much of East Africa this week, isolating remote villages, flooding city slums, and damaging crops. Six people have also died in Kenya flooding and a schoolboy drowned in Uganda.