May 21, 2015 News
As the search continues for the remaining victims of last Sunday’s horrific mining pit collapse at Mowasi, Potaro, rescuers yesterday pulled two more bodies from the deadly pit.
This brings the total number of bodies recovered to nine. Rescuers are making attempts to get out the final one. Kaieteur News understands that the two bodies retrieved on Tuesday are at the Mahdia Hospital mortuary awaiting transportation to the city.
Those killed in the mining disaster are Leyland Jones, 38, called ‘Foots’ of Grove, East Bank Demerara, who was the gold operations General Manager; his nephew Jason Trotman, 21; of Samatta Point, Grove Housing Scheme; Raymond August, 17, of 229 Bent St, Dartmouth, Essequibo; Bobby Brittlebank of 98 Wislock Housing Scheme, Linden; Michael Gardner of Better Hope, ECD; Sheldon and Orlando Clario; Esmond Martins; Trevon Phillips and Nanmore Kurt.
Of the five bodies that were retrieved and transported to the city on Tuesday, one was identified yesterday as that of Orlando Clario.
Three others were positively identified by relatives the morning after being brought up. They are Brittlebank, August and Gardner.
The injured have been identified as Alex Green, 28, of Lima Essequibo Coast; Regan Green, 21, of Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast; Collymore Lewis, 34, of Marakaboi Mission, Mahaicony; Sheldon Adams, 32, of Beehive, East Coast Demerara; Lazarus Andrews, 49, of Nappie, Central Rupununi and Henry Xavier, 37, of Paramakatoi, North Pakaraima.
According to reports, eighteen workers were in the pit when the northern wall, weakened by rainfall, collapsed, trapping the miners.
Randy, the brother of one of the victims, Michael Gardner, was among those outside the Lyken Funeral Parlour, after relatives identified the body on Tuesday.
“We heard he was in a 90-foot pit. That is very dangerous and the stuff they took out of the pit they didn’t really move it, it was right there. So it was very careless.
“My brother-in-law went in and saw it and he said it was suicide.”
According to the man’s brother, his death was hitting them very hard since he was very close to them.
“We all lived as one with real love. We don’t know how we will deal with this.”
Relatives added that Gardner was past the time he was due to come out of the interior. It is a normal practice that gold miners spend three months in the interior, before returning to civilization.
Relatives were of the opinion that Gardner may have been pressured to continue working in Mowasi, due to the profitability of the claim.
The man’s sister was also inconsolable. She said that she last spoke to her brother on Friday.
Lavena Green, who turned up at the hospital, spoke of Esmond Martin, the father of her children. His body is unaccounted for.
Raymond August, her younger brother, has already been identified at Lyken.
Her cousins, Alex and Regan Green, were also injured. According to her, Alex was supposedly on his way to Essequibo, while Regan Green is still in the interior.
“Everybody is broken up at this time. His death is not something that we could accept but we have to deal with it. I can’t answer for anybody but for me, it is hard because I have two children for Esmond Martin, one two years old and another one year old.”
She also confirmed that she spoke with Khan this morning via phone.
“He said that he is working hard and is not leaving until they have discovered everyone.”
The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has already completed an investigation into the accident, and ruled that the operator’s negligent safety practices caused the tragedy.
GGMC has also highlighted its sordid past with the operator, Imran Khan, who had filed an injunction in 2013 against the GGMC and the claim’s rightful owner, Edward Hopkinson, preventing them from interfering with the claim.
The post mortem examinations for the bodies currently in the city have been set for Friday.
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