South Africa: Hundreds of Miners Trapped Underground

Photo: photosmith2011
Typical tunnel at Mopani Copper Mine.

Johannesburg — Over 200 illegal miners are believed to be trapped in an abandoned mine near Benoni on the East Rand, paramedics said on Sunday.

"Approximately 30 people are trapped towards the top of the old shaft and the rest down a steep tunnel," ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said.

He said emergency services had been conducting operations around illegal mining in the area on Sunday when they heard the screaming from the abandoned mine.

Vermaak said they were able to speak to the people trapped near the top and there appeared to be no one injured there. However it was not known what condition the miners trapped in the tunnel were in.

By 24:30, Vermaak said emergency workers were waiting for mine rescue services to help them.

"Once they are freed medical workers will start to assess them and provide treatment where necessary."

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InFocus

South Africa: Hundreds of Miners Trapped

Typical tunnel at Mopani Copper Mine.

Hundreds of miners are trapped underground at an abandoned mine in Benoni on the East Rand. They have refused to come out of the mine because they do not want to be arrested. Read more »