19 May 2017

South Africa: Authorities 'Rely Heavily' On Info From Illegal Miners After Gas Explosion

Authorities say they have relied heavily on the information from illegal miners at Harmony Gold's Eland mine in Welkom, Free State, after a gas explosion on Thursday last week.

Major General Lerato Molale said on Friday that the search was still continuing.

"There are rumours that there are still more bodies trapped underground. We rely heavily on information from illegal miners that carried the bodies away after the gas explosion last week."

"This is an unused mine and it is very dangerous," Molale said.

On Thursday, the bodies of four more illegal miners were recovered.

The miners had forced their way into the St Helena shaft before the explosion. Eleven bodies were retrieved on Monday, 13 on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.

This brings the total to 29 bodies.

"The rescue team travelled a distance of about 20km to 25km from the St Helena shaft to the Eland shaft to get the bodies out of the mine," said Molale.

The bodies had already started to decompose. Some had name tags attached.

The miners, aged between 30 and 35, were believed to be from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.

Source: News24

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