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Hope for Finding Survivors in Burkina Faso Mine Disaster Fading

Regional officials in Burkina Faso say hopes of finding more survivors buried in a landslide at a gold mine are fading. At least five are dead and dozens more have been buried when the wall of the mine collapsed after heavy rains.

The residents of Poura in western Burkina Faso were crowding round the site of the collapsed gold mine on Saturday, many looking for family members they believe to have been trapped by the landslide.

Officials say at least five people are dead and as many as 50 more are believed buried by Wednesday's landslide at the mine. Six injured have been found. State radio quoted a regional official as saying the hope to find more survivors is fading.

The government officially closed the mine in 1999, but mostly poor farmers continued to look for gold in the Poura mine, 80 miles southwest of Burkina Fasos capital Ouagadougou.

Emergency services arrived late on Thursday.

Local journalist Rasmané Zongo was at the site. He says few expect to find any more survivors.

He noted that as it has already been more than 48 hours since the accident, nobody thinks there is any hope left in finding any other survivors. Zongo added that hundreds of people from the area have come to see what happened and to try and find their family members.

He said that the people who have come out to find their loved ones are in a very sad state.

The government had stationed security forces at the mine's entrance to stop unlicensed gold diggers from entering, but Zongo said, the soldiers left their posts.

He said that because the soldiers were not paid, they eventually left their positions. And, he says, that is why so many people were in the gold mine.

The regional governor who visited the site on Friday denied responsibility for the mine disaster, but the government has agreed security at the mine should be stepped up.