First breakthrough in reaching trapped miners

2014-02-16 16:19
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Rescue operation for 200 illegal miners

Rescue workers have succeeded in bringing the first group of trapped miners to the surface. See all the pictures.

Cape Town - Emergency and rescue services have been busy for over six hours trying to free trapped illegal miners outside Benoni in Johannesburg.

It is understood they were trapped since early on Saturday.

Since early this morning paramedics and rescuers joined forces to set up a plan on how to free them. Numerous heavy duty rescue vehicles and equipment was brought to the old mine shaft to stabilise the ground.

Shortly before 15:00 rescue workers managed to lift the first large rock from the small opening and are hopeful that they will be able to reach some of the miners in due course.

According to local Ekhuruleni Metro Police they were patrolling the open veld for illegal dumping when they heard the cries for help.

Upon further investigation they found the illegal miners trapped beneath several layers of boulders. The officials then called for rescue services.

Rescue services have since tried to remove the boulders and managed to remove one large boulder.

They have also tried to send bottles of water down to the trapped miners. According to the miners, which can only be verbally communicated with, there are 30 of them trapped in the top section and another 200 odd in another section below them. However this is still difficult to confirm.

Disaster vehicles and law enforcement officials have staged on the scene awaiting the miners. They will be assessed and treated should they have any injuries. The police will also be involved.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  mining accident
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