Lily Mine rescuers facing 'mammoth task'

2016-02-09 22:30
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Johannesburg – Rescuers trying to reach three workers trapped in the Lily Mine in Mpumalanga are facing a “mammoth task”, a trade union official said on Tuesday.

Huge rocks were blocking their path to the three, who were in a shipping container that was buried when part of the mine caved in, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union Mpumalanga secretary John Sibiya said.

Sibiya was part of the three rescue teams trying to reach Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza, and Solomon Nyarenda. They were working in shifts around the clock, digging and drilling.

The three were in the lamp room, which was housed in the container, when a central pillar of ore, called a crown pillar, collapsed on Friday. The container was swallowed up in a sink hole as big as a rugby field.

Seventy-six miners were rescued.

“Sometimes they use a machine to detect signs of life. It’s promising and we cannot afford to lose hope. What’s troubling are the big rocks. Every time you think you have gone through, they are coming back.”

Sibiya said he was consoled by the support the three miners’ families had been receiving from local residents and organisations.

“The families have not left the mine. They are in prayers hoping for an end to their horror. People are supporting them. It’s the heart of people showing us we cannot lose hope.”

Mine Rescue Services chief executive Christo de Klerk said the rescue team heard knocking from deep inside the mine on Monday morning.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  lily mine collapse

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