Tags: safrica | mine | accident

SAfrican Rescuers Trying to Reach 200 Trapped Illegal Miners

Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 07:23 AM

JOHANNESBURG — Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.

Werner Vermaak of ER24 emergency services told Reuters rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

Eleven workers have been pulled out of an illegal gold mine in South Africa where around 200 were feared trapped Sunday, rescuers said.
 
"We have rescued 11 so far, none of them have visible injuries. But they are being assessed by medics," Russel Meiring of the private emergency operators ER24, told AFP from the accident scene.
 
AFP video and photo journalists also saw the 11 climb out of the mine via a ladder lowered by rescuers into the shaft.

"They told us there are about 200 others trapped further below," Vermaak said.

"It's an abandoned mine shaft in the middle of the public veld (open fields) . . . it was not a blocked-off area," he added.

Heavy equipment had been brought in to try to remove the boulders obstructing the shaft.

Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in South Africa, where informal miners excavate mineral ore to be sold to buyers, often living underground in dangerous and precarious conditions. Fatal accidents are common, and underground battles between rival groups have also been reported.

The illegal diggers also sometimes invade active mines. At least 82 men thought to have been illegal miners died after an underground fire at a Harmony gold mine in South Africa in 2009.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.
safrica,mine,accident
277
2014-23-16
Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 07:23 AM
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