6 February 2014

South Africa: Eight Found Dead After Gold Mine Accident

Photo: Amplats
A mine in South Africa (file photo).

South African rescuers have recovered eight bodies and are searching for another missing worker after an accident in a gold mine near Johannesburg. Another eight miners were rescued earlier.

Eight of nine miners trapped underground after a fire and rock fall in a mine near the South African city of Johannesburg have been found dead, the National Union of Mineworkers said on Thursday.

The union said rescue teams discovered the bodies on Wednesday night. It said the rescuers were still searching for a ninth man.

Altogether 17 workers were trapped underground after a fire broke out following a rock fall late on Tuesday at mining company Harmony Gold's Doornkop mine, 30 km (19 miles) west of Johannesburg.

The accident may have been triggered by a small earthquake causing damage to electric cables, the union said.

Eight of the workers who had escaped to a refuge chamber were rescued unharmed on Wednesday morning.

It is the worst accident in a South African mine since a rock fall killed nine workers at a platinum mine in July 2009. Mining Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has ordered an investigation.

Despite stricter safety methods being introduced after the end of white-minority rule in 1994, South African gold mines - the deepest in the world - remain highly dangerous. One hundred and twelve people were killed in 2012, the last year for which records are available.

 (Reuters, AFP)

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