14 dead in DR Congo mine collapse

The incident happened in Niyabibwe, about 100 kilometres north of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, they said Wednesday.

This undated image shows a view of a mine underground. Picture: Pixabay.com

BUKAVU - Fourteen people were killed overnight Tuesday when a small-scale mine in a tin-rich area of eastern DR Congo collapsed, local officials said.

The incident happened in Niyabibwe, about 100 kilometres north of Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province, they said Wednesday.

Miners had dug a shaft to look for cassiterite, a source of tin, but the walls caved in after heavy rain.

"The search for survivors began at around 3 am and is ongoing," senior administrative official Muhima Kateete told AFP.

"Fourteen bodies have been recovered, and there are nine injured," he said.

Delphin Birimbi, head of a local association of NGOs, said the toll was provisional.

Nine people are in hospital for serious injuries, a health worker said.

Accidents are common and frequently deadly in the Democratic Republic of Congo's subsistence mines, where safety is poor and risk-taking high.

Figures indicating the scale of the problem are sketchy, given that many mines are illegal and remote.