RHODESIA: Disaster at Wankie

A cable car was hurled like a giant cannonball from the No. 2 mine shaft of the Wankie Colliery in northwestern Rhodesia, burning a row of papaya trees before it came to rest 50 yds. away. That was the first sign of the disaster. An explosion, possibly emanating from a dynamite magazine, had devastated the major shaft of the mine that produced all of Rhodesia's coal. On or near the surface, four men were killed instantly. Hundreds of feet below, 426 miners —390 of them black, 36 white—were trapped amid rock and deadly methane and carbon monoxide fumes.


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