Heavy rains lasting for days created landslides that caused three mines to collapse, burying workers underneath.

People gather at the scene of a gold mine collapse near the town of Kamituga, South Kivu province, in eastern Congo. September 11, 2020.
People gather at the scene of a gold mine collapse near the town of Kamituga, South Kivu province, in eastern Congo. September 11, 2020. (Jeff Mwenyemali/Maisha RDC via AP / AP)

More than 50 people have been killed after landslides caused three artisanal gold mines to collapse in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials say the incident happened near the city of Kamituga in eastern Congo’s South Kivu province, caused by heavy rains for days.

“The diggers and the transporters of the stones were swallowed up by the waters,” said Kamituga Mayor Alexandre Bundya. “A team of rescuers with motor pumps came to recover the bodies of the victims.”

Diwa Honoré, who survived the tragedy, said more than 50 people had been in the three mines, which are about 50 metres deep.

"Kamituga is in mourning,” wrote Dieudonne Bazika, sharing a video on social media showing the aftermath. Hundreds of people gathered to observe and help in rescue efforts.

READ MORE: Floods in Democratic Republic of Congo claim dozens of lives

Mining quarries often unsafe

Most of the dead were young people, according to a statement from the office of the governor of South Kivu, Theo Ngwabidje Kasi, who offered condolences to families.

“Investigations continue to identify our deceased compatriots, to provide assistance and to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies,” the statement said.

Artisanal mining quarries are often unsafe in eastern Congo and the Kasai region. Women and children also work in the mines to make ends meet. Deadly collapses occurred earlier this year in Maniema and in Katanga, killing at least 18 people.

Source: AP