Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and his wife attended an interdenominational memorial service at Wankie on Sunday (11 June), for the miners who lost their lives in last week's explosion at the mine.
MV & STV Smith and wife arriving at mine (2 shots)
MV & GV PAN..Smith looking at wire mesh covering entrance to mine (2 shots)
SV & CU Couple laying wreaths on wire mesh (2 shots)
GV Crowd at memorial service
SV & CU Smith and wife singing hymns
CU ZOOM OUT..Mr. Oppenheimer singing
STV Nuns in congregation
CU Small children
Initials ES. 1310 ES. 1430
This film has natural sound throughout.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith and his wife attended an interdenominational memorial service at Wankie on Sunday (11 June), for the miners who lost their lives in last week's explosion at the mine.
The bodies of 419 men, mostly Africans, still lie entombed in the mine's number two colliery, which has become a huge crematorium with an outbreak of fire in the underground tunnels where the men were trapped.
A total of 434 men died in the disaster with only 15 bodies recovered.
Also present at the service was Mr. Harry Oppenheimer, the Chairman of the Anglo-American Corporation. The 5,000 mourners gathered around an improvised stage in the colliery sports stadium.
Before the service started, Mr. Smith addressed the mourners on behalf of the government, saying that the tragedy had cast a shadow over the country and had repercussions throughout the world.
Mine officials said the fire underground had been regenerated by fresh air pumped into the tunnels by rescue workers trying to reach the trapped men. The fires could burn for a month and were believed to be raging over a wide area between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 metros) below the surface.
The entrance to the mine has been sealed off with wire netting and officials said they had no idea if and when the colliery would be reopened.