A mine worker was killed and his body reduced to pieces after he allegedly used a match stick to ignite 25 explosives underground at Turpin Mine in Wenlock area in Gwanda District. Sources close to the matter said Wilson Maphosa, 30, who was a mine blaster died instantly due to an explosion that occurred while he was in a mine shaft with his workmate, Talent Sibanda, 27, who escaped from the incident.
Maphosa was buried in Gwanda on Wednesday, but there were different versions as to what might have led to the accident. Some suspect that it was just an accident but others speculated it was suicide.
There were some who were suspicious that there could have been a hidden hand behind Maphosa’s death last Friday.
Matabeleland South Provincial police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele confirmed the death.
“I can confirm that we’re investigating the case of a mine accident where a male adult was killed,” he said.
“Maphosa and Sibanda went into the mine shaft with explosives. Maphosa then set the 25 explosives in the mine tunnel but during the process they discovered that they didn’t have the ignition cord to ignite the explosives,” said a source.
“They advised the mine authorities about it. The mine authorities then acquired the ignition cable from a nearby mine and instructed Maphosa to send someone to go and collect the cable.”
However, it is said instead of waiting for the ignition cable, Maphosa decided to ignite the explosives using a match stick.
“Upon realising Maphosa’s plans to ignite the explosives with a match stick, Sibanda decided to make his way out of the tunnel but before he was out, there was an explosion killing Maphosa instantly,” the source said.
Sibanda survived but sustained deep cuts on the hand and leg.
He was admitted to Gwanda Provincial Hospital.
When Chronicle visited the hospital yesterday, Sibanda had already been discharged.
Maphosa’s body was taken to a local mortuary before burial in Gwanda town on Wednesday.
“He died a painful death. When his body was collected from the scene, it was cut to several pieces and because of that, there was no body viewing conducted at his burial yesterday (Wednesday),” added a source.