The bodies of three unidentified miners were buried in a ceremony near the disaster-hit Wankie colliery on Saturday (10 June).
The bodies of three unidentified miners were buried in a ceremony near the disaster-hit Wankie colliery on Saturday (10 June). The bodies of over four hundred miners, most of whom were Africans, still lie entombed in a shaft 7,000 feet (2,170 metres) below ground. They died in last week's explosion in the number two colliery at the Wankie Mine complex. And before the service began, work started on the grim job of sealing the shaft where the miners were killed.
Thousands of mourners, black and white, gathered at the graveside for the funeral of the miners--whose bodies were the first to be brought to the surface. Priests conducted a service as the coffins were lowered into the ground. Before the burial, there was a short pithead memorial service.
There was to be another memorial service on Sunday (11 June) attended by Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith.
The bodies of the miners still underground will not be recovered because of the danger of further explosions. And with fires still raging deep underground, the entrance to the mine was sealed.
The number two colliery produced 40 per cent of last year's output at Wankie--the heart of the Rhodesian mining industry and, through its coal, is a strong support for the Zambian copperbelt.