Rescue operation for 5-year-old trapped in mineshaft suspended

2017-02-27 21:00
A rescue worker descending into the mine shaft where a 5-year-old boy went missing. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

A rescue worker descending into the mine shaft where a 5-year-old boy went missing. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Johannesburg - The rescue operation for a 5-year-old boy who fell into an empty mine shaft in Jerusalem, an informal settlement outside Boksburg, on Saturday has been suspended.

Speaking on Monday evening, Ekurhuleni emergency services acting spokesperson Vincent Khoza said the rescue operation would resume on Tuesday morning.

 "The rescue operation was called off at 19:30 because it's dark and it's very unsafe," Khoza said.

Mine rescue services attempted to go down the mine shaft but toxic gas and poor light hampered efforts to reach the bottom.  

Residents who watched the rescue mission all day hoping that the boy would be found were disappointed by the suspension of the rescue operation.

Earlier, a drone was used to fly over the area to assess the stability of the ground.

Fell while playing

Khoza said when the rescue team went down on Sunday there was no sign of the child.

On Monday morning locals flocked to the shaft. They stood nearby watching and waiting for any news. Some sang gospel songs, while others drank beer.

The boy fell into the hole sometime between 12:00 and 13:00 on Saturday.

Rescue South Africa helped with the operation, but the rescue was called off later that day due to the instability of the ground.

The boy's family said they last saw him when he went to play with friends, Khoza said.

"When we went to his mother, she said he went out to play. One of his friends told us that he fell into the shaft."

Residents then alerted emergency services.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  accident

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