9 February 2016

South Africa: Rescue Teams 12m Away From Trapped Miners

With rescue teams only 12 metres away from where the Lily Mine workers in Mpumalanga are trapped, it's now only a matter of drilling through rocks to reach the three.

The mine's operations director, Mike Begg, said all efforts on Tuesday would be aimed at breaking through to the lamp room.

"We were very lucky last night when we've started seeing indications that we're getting close to this lamp room. We've received a regular audible response to signals made by the rescue team. This has given us immense hope that we have located the position of the lamp room within the pile of rocks and our endeavours today are flat out now focused on this area to start retrieving our colleagues," Begg said on Tuesday.

Begg said Eskom electricity was restored on Monday and the rescue teams would try to drill through the heavy rocks.

There is concern that time is running out for the trapped miners - Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza and Solomon Nyarenda.

The three were trapped when the mine, between Kaapmuiden and Barberton, caved in on Friday morning.

Rescue operations have been going for five day now in an attempt to bring them to safety.

They were doing their shifts in the lamp room, which is the last building where miners collect rescue pacts and their headlights, before going down into the mine.

The container that housed the lamp room is believed to be on level 4. Rescue attempts to clear debris in an effort to get to this container, were executed from level 5.

Seventy-eight miners were trapped after a central pillar collapsed, resulting in a sink hole the size of a rugby field.

Seventy-five miners, who were working on level 13, where operations were taking place on that fateful Friday, managed to get out through the normal escape routes. They were picked up and taken to hospitals in the area. They returned to the mine later the same afternoon.

Meanwhile, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has visited Lily Mine.

He said the mine has been closed in the interest of safety.

"We were encouraged by the fact that before we could even issue Section 54, management agreed that the situation needed that kind of action," said Zwane, who spent several hours at the mine on Friday.

Source: News24

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