Eight miners have been rescued alive from Cricket Mine, at Battlefields in Zimbabwe, as rescue operations continue. The bodies of 24 others have been brought to the surface.

The miners were trapped from Tuesday night following severe flooding in the area.The owners of the mine, Rio Zimbabwe, say people entered the shafts illegally to look for gold. The Zimbabwe government has declared it a national disaster.

The mining methods are not state of the art but nothing could stop the artisanal miners from going underground to rescue their colleagues and their efforts throughout the night paid off.

“A lot of people have not survived. Only a few survived. We were struggling with carbon, it caused more deaths, water was not the main cause but it was carbon,” says a survivor, Darwin Madimutsa.

His colleague, Simon Mushonga, related his ordeal.

“The thing that kept giving us hope that we will survive was that we kept hearing the sound of the water pump buzzing in our ears. And we knew there was still life ahead as long as people have not forgotten and they have not given up on us we were going to be saved .”

There was excitement as more survivors came out but some were too frail to walk. They were all taken to a local hospital. Survivors say they barely slept during the four day ordeal as the water level was neck high and it was difficult to breath.

They became weaker as the the hours passed without any food.

Rescuers haven’t give up the search.

“The rescue mission is still going strong. We still got our experts, the mining experts who are still down to retrieve any other people who are alive or if they are dead, the bodies will be brought up to the ground so we will be getting information from the chief engineer who will be updating us on what’s happening and if there are more bodies. We will be here to see that happening,”says Provincial Minister of State, Mary Mliswa.

Anxious relatives and other miners are continuing to camp at the site in the hope of seeing more survivors emerge.