10th miner rescued in Welkom

2012-05-23 20:13

Bloemfontein - Rescuers brought a tenth illegal miner to the surface from a disused gold mine near Welkom on Wednesday, Free State police said.

Colonel Sam Makhele said the rescue effort would continue as long as the situation was safe at the disused Harmony Gold mine.

At least 20 men were still believed to be underground.

Earlier, Makhele said the police and rescue personnel were only focusing on getting trapped "zama-zamas", as illegal miners are called in the industry, out of the mine.

There was no indication of possible casualties yet.

Two illegal miners raised the alarm on Tuesday, saying fellow miners were trapped underground following a rockfall in the early hours.

Police said they told authorities they were digging for gold in the disused mine when parts of it began to cave in.

The company had sealed the mine, but illegal miners - many of them from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho - had burrowed in without legal supervision.

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