South Africa: Trapped South African Gold Miners Found Dead

TheTau Lekoa gold mine in Orkney in the North West province.
8 December 2019

"Bring us some oxygen," were the final words heard when contact was lost. The bodies of four miners in the Tau Lekoa Mine in northeastern South Africa were recovered after they were trapped by fallen boulders.

The bodies of four gold miners who had been trapped deep underground in a South African mine were recovered Sunday, a mine workers' union said.

The miners were trapped Friday after a tremor caused a rock fall at the Tau Lekoa Mine in the northeastern town of Orkney.

One miner with serious injuries was rescued after the accident Friday. The rescue team said it lost contact with the four other men early Saturday.

South Africa's News24 reported that the four miners were trapped more than 1,300 meters underground. More than 100 people were involved in the rescue attempt, but efforts were hampered by the volume of rocks that had fallen and the threat of additional collapses.

'Bring us oxygen'

According to the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Joseph Montisetse, the last person they spoke with before losing contact said: "We are suffocating, please, bring us some oxygen."

Local media reported that the miners were between 32 and 47 years old.

South Africa has some of the deepest mines in the world, and deadly accidents are common.

According to South Africa's department of mineral resources, 81 people died in the country's mines last year.


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