Illegal miners refuse to be rescued

By Drum Digital
17 February 2014

Rescue workers abandoned their rescue mission on Sunday evening after miners refused to be brought to the surface at an abandoned mine in Benoni on the East Rand.

"Eleven illegal miners have been brought up, the rest heard that they would be arrested and said they did not want to come back up," ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said.

It was too dangerous for the rescue workers to go down into the mine.

Food and water was sent down to the miners and officials said there was enough oxygen for them.

"However, it remains unsafe and the shaft can fall at any minute," said Vermaak.

Emergency workers said they would not be returning to the mine until the miners indicated they were ready to come up.

Police and private security companies, however remained at the shaft.

The illegal miners were found on Sunday while emergency services were conducting operations around the illegal mining in the area. They heard screaming from the abandoned mine.

Eleven illegal miners who were rescued from have been charged, Gauteng police said.

"They will be appearing in the Benoni Magistrate's Court [on Tuesday] on charges of illegal mining," said Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale.

At least 200 more illegal miners were believed to be trapped underground..


Find Love!