A police spokeswoman says three illegal miners have died and up to seven more are trapped underground in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said Thursday that the bodies of three artisanal miners have been recovered after police discovered the trapped miners on Wednesday. Charamba said rescuers were struggling to reach the other trapped miners due to waterlogging in the alluvial mine. Police are still investigating the cause of the collapse.

Illegal miners invaded the area after the Zimbabwean government took control of the diamond fields and ordered international mining companies to halt operations.

The Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe caught global attention in 2006 when thousands of unlicensed artisanal miners flooded the area in search of alluvial stones to sell on the black market.