Zimbabwean rescuers pulled the bodies of at least 22 illegal gold miners out of shafts west of Harare that were flooded earlier in the week, and rescued eight more alive, officials and witnesses said on Saturday.

The accident involving about 70 miners in Battlefields, 175 km (109 miles) west of the capital, happened on Tuesday night and has shone a light on the risks run by illegal gold miners, who last year contributed Zimbabwe’s record of 33 tonne bullion output.

The government has declared the incident a disaster.

“We hope we will be able to retrieve all of the people in time,” Rushwaya said.

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