Rock falls hamper rescue of boy from mine shaft

2017-03-01 13:26
The community of Jerusalem, Boksburg has become enraged after Disaster Emergency Management Services announced that the rescue operation has been suspended again. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

The community of Jerusalem, Boksburg has become enraged after Disaster Emergency Management Services announced that the rescue operation has been suspended again. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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Johannesburg - Heavy rock falls have delayed efforts to rescue 5-year-old Richard Thole from a disused mine shaft in the Jerusalem informal settlement, Boksburg.

"This morning, we had five heavy sounds of rock falls coming out of the shaft. There was some vibration from those rock falls on the surface," Ekurhuleni Emergency Management Services spokesperson William Ntladi said on Wednesday morning.

They had worked throughout the night to remove loose soil around the shaft entrance with an excavator, when the rock falls happened. A camera would be used to try and determine the size of the rocks. 

"We are already working in a confined space, and now if those rocks are falling in that very same confined space, that tells us that it is going to be far more difficult to operate."

Thole fell into the shaft on Saturday afternoon.

Since then, people had been gathering under a tree near the shaft entrance, hoping for news.

"The rescue teams come here for 30 minutes and then they say they will come back tomorrow. We are tired of hearing that," said resident Aubrey Mkhombo. 

Locals wanted to use illegal miners, so-called zama zamas, to rescue Richard, he said. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  accidents  |  mining

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