KINSHASA - More than 50 people have died after landslides collapsed three artisanal gold mining wells in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The incident took place near the city of Kamituga in eastern Congo's South Kivu province on Friday, following days of heavy rains.

Kamituga mayor Alexandre Bundya said: "The diggers and the transporters of the stones were swallowed up by the waters.

"A team of rescuers with motor pumps came to recover the bodies of the victims."

Diwa Honore, who survived the tragedy, said more than 50 people had been in the three wells, which are about 54 yards deep.

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.