Arusha — FIVE people have perished in Mererani mining hills, with the sixth admitted in critical condition to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), after the quarry they were working in collapsed onto them.
The incident occurred at dawn on Sunday at Mererani, in Simanjiro District, Manyara Region, where the six people were reportedly carrying on mining activities in a tanzanite quarry belonging to Mr Onesmo Mbise, an Arusha-based mineral dealer.
The Manyara Regional Police Commander(RPC), Mr Akili Mpwapwa, confirmed the incident, saying it was normal for most quarry workers to operate during the night in Mererani, adding that the police were still investigating the matter.
The RPC confirmed the deaths of the five miners, whom he identified as Jackson Kavishe, Noel Kilwa-Kitui, Emmanuel John, Godlove Zebhlon and Emmanuel Joshua, all of whom reportedly died on spot when the quarry caved into them.
The sixth miner, according to Mr Mpwapwa, is Siphael Simba, who was found alive when a rescue team went round to the quarry, which is registered under the Fanon Mining Company.
Simba was rushed to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi where he was still fighting for his life as we went to press.
Miners in Mererani contend that working at night was preferred because it was too hot to work the pits during day time, which could be very intense in the drought-stricken area.
Cases of mining quarries caving in are common in Mererani, with the worst incidents recorded in 2008 and 1998 when more than 100 miners perished in each disaster.
However, in the two cases the landslides occurred in the months of March and April during heavy rains.