10 bodies recovered from mine

2012-05-27 08:43

Cape Town - The bodies of 10 illegal miners were recovered from a disused diamond mine near Kleinzee, in the Northern Cape on Saturday, De Beers said.

"Ten deceased diggers had been recovered from the collapsed tunnels [by Saturday evening]. One digger has been rescued and eleven diggers reportedly escaped," the diamond company said in a statement.

"The co-ordinated rescue and recovery operation is continuing. The operation will progress until all illegally excavated tunnels are found and searched for survivors or deceased diggers."

De Beers said the collapsed tunnel that was discovered by the rescue team was cleared on Saturday.

"Mining could then proceed towards what is reported, by diggers, to be another tunnel in the network. This work will continue until the tunnel is intersected."

Underground mine

The tunnels were not part of a previously worked underground mine but were excavated illegally at the site.

On Friday, rescuers recovered the bodies of five miner at the site, police spokesperson Captain Cherelle Ehlers said. She said rescue teams reached the collapsed tunnel by digging a trench alongside the entrance of a disused mine to try and get to the trapped miners.

Earlier this week, police recovered two bodies and rescuers could see another, but the unstable conditions prevented them from retrieving it.

One injured illegal digger was later rescued.

Tunnels at the mine collapsed at 15:00 on Tuesday. The mine had closed the tunnels in April.

Eleven illegal diggers reportedly escaped and alerted the police. The collapsed hole was about six metres deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area.

  • John - 2012-05-27 09:00

    Why even bother? The risks and cost are not worth it. Let them rot and maybe the message will get out. We pamper to the needs and demands of illegal doings and people yet cannot look after our own. Sickening.

  • Keith - 2012-05-27 09:02

    But i think in Kleizee they mostly from Namibia those smugglers con-artist

  • Tshepo Harrison - 2012-05-27 09:19

    Was this the work of poverty***just wondering***

      Bundubabe - 2012-05-27 10:25

      Poverty? - Grow mealies - imagine how many mealies could be grown using these twenty-odd able bodied men.

  • colin.dovey - 2012-05-27 09:37

    Such a shame that there are not enough industries, and other opportunities for them to ply their trade. Mining is a dangerous occupation, even in the legal workings.

  • tricia.sutherland1 - 2012-05-27 10:52

    I bet the diggers had no idea they were employed to work on an illegal mine and this report fails to mention that the diggers were from neighbouring African countries - it is so sad that our Government allows these people past our borders and they get here to no jobs (there are not enough jobs for South Africans) or they face genocide. It is sad. I hope afterwards that the immigrants will think twice before coming to SA - they don't deserve to die when they trying to make money for their families. I hope the persons responsible are charged as harshly as possible.

      Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:04

      Tricia, there were also a lot of locals mining there. The father of the one said his son went into the mine because he couldn't buy food for his child. Poor people.

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-27 11:02

    How can these people get into these mines?. Surely the mining companies are responsible to make sure no one can enter. But then why am I surprised, nothing works in this country anymore. We're doomed.

      michael.a.devilliers - 2012-05-27 13:49

      Using hand grenades actually - very scary.

  • Harold - 2012-05-27 11:24

    Why call these people illegal diggers they are just common thieves and criminals involved in illicit diamond trading. The people are no better than the thieves stealing diamonds and gold in many other African states. All they do is strip a country of its assets and there is no properity. The cummunity of Port nolloth should be ashamed of itself for protecting these people

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