News24

One rescued from mine

2012-05-22 19:23

Johannesburg - A miner was rescued from a collapsed tunnel at a diamond mine near Kleinzee on Tuesday, Northern Cape police said.

"We have just received information from the scene that one person has been rescued," said Captain Cherelle Ehlers.

"The person is being treated for shock and minor injuries."

No further information was available.

Earlier, Ehlers said 19 illegal miners were trapped underground, but that rescue workers were talking to them. Their condition was unknown.

A disused tunnel in the mine collapsed, trapping the men who had been illegally digging for diamonds. Eleven escaped and alerted the police that there were people underground.

"The miners are trapped in tunnels at the Bontekou mine in Kleinzee," said Ehlers.

The mine closed the tunnels in April.

Police and rescue teams from Kommagas, Kleinzee, Port Nolloth, Upington and Kimberley, and rescuers from the De Beers mine and the Nama Khoi disaster management, were at the scene.

It is thought the tunnel collapsed at about 03:00 on Tuesday. The area that caved in was about 6m deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area.

Three of the 11 who escaped were admitted to a hospital in Springbok.

Ehlers said loose gravel was hindering rescue efforts.