Over 900 workers trapped underground in South African gold mine

Mildred Europa Taylor February 01, 2018
South African rescue officials move a rock removed from an abandoned gold shaft as they work

Hundreds of miners are trapped underground in a gold mine in South Africa following a thunderstorm which caused a lift to break down.

Almost 1000 miners were trapped at Sibyane Gold’s Beatrix Mine in the Free State on Wednesday night. More than 60 of the miners have so far been rescued, but 955 are still trapped.

They are, however, not believed to be in immediate danger. Mine unions have expressed fears that their colleagues trapped could suffer from dehydration.

Livhuwani Mammburu, a spokesman for the National Union of Mineworkers, said: “There is no electricity there, so they are using a generator to power the cage to take workers to the surface.

“The problem is they are rescuing one mineworker at a time. It is very slow. It is worrying. Some of our members have chronic conditions and they don’t have medication down there.”

Those trapped in the mine have so far been given food and water. Medics are said to be on site in case any of the miners need medical attention when they surface.

James Wellsted, a spokesman for the firm, who gave further details on the incident said: “We sent rescue teams down, accounted for all the people and obviously are trying to get them out of there as soon as possible.”

“We are having some issues – probably related to the power surge linked to the storm – in getting the winders working, so we are busy working on that issue at the moment.

“Last night there was a severe storm in the Free State that affected two different power cables… and cut off all electricity supply to the mine, so we were unable to bring the night shift up.

“All employees appear to be fine. We are supplying food and water,” Wellsted added.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: February 1, 2018


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