19 miners trapped in Northern Cape mine

2012-05-22 14:26

Johannesburg - Nineteen illegal miners were trapped underground in a diamond mine near Kleinzee in the Northern Cape on Tuesday, police said.

"Rescue workers are talking to the trapped miners, but we are not sure of their condition," Captain Cherelle Ehlers said.

A disused tunnel in the mine collapsed, trapping the men who were digging illegally for diamonds. Eleven managed to escape and alerted police that there were people underground.

"The miners are trapped in tunnels at the Bontekou mine in Kleinzee," said Ehlers. The mine closed the tunnels in April.

Police and rescue teams from Kommagas, Kleinzee, Port Nolloth, Upington, and Kimberley, as well as rescuers from the De Beers mine and the Nama Khoi disaster management were are at the scene.

 It is thought the tunnel collapsed at about 03:00 on Tuesday. The area that caved in was about 6m deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area.

Three of the 11 who escaped were admitted to a hospital in Springbok.

Ehlers said loose gravel was hindering rescue efforts.

  • Craig - 2012-05-22 14:31

    Leave them there

      Gee - 2012-05-22 14:49

      They'll probably sue the mine for unsafe working conditions once out!

      Themba - 2012-05-22 16:12

      Come on Craig these are humans! This is funny but serious as well. On a serious note, such disused mines should be closed-off - a costly exercise for mining companies. We have seen a lot of road construction without signs too, this is not good.

  • Gee - 2012-05-22 14:47

    They were clever enough to find their way into the mine, surely they can find a way out themselves!

      Dineo - 2012-05-22 15:01

      The miners have a right to dignity though.

      Gee - 2012-05-22 15:07

      They are NOT miners. Illegal miners are thieves. But sure, they need to be rescued. They also need to be arrested!

  • anthro45 - 2012-05-22 16:35

    And they were never seen again. Now for the weather..............

  • Idris - 2012-05-22 16:46

    I'm staying in kimberley when I was in springbok recently the people was raving and bragging about how they are making big bucks and a living illegally at these mines,even inviting others, sadly now they suffer the consequences.

      Ben - 2012-05-23 08:44

      I live in Springbok, and sadly the ones that are making the big money are not the ones that do the digging. They take desperate homeless people from the street and pay them a pittance to do their dirty work for them. Do you really think that a diamond smuggler driving a brand new Mercedes will dirty his hands digging in an underground tunnel?

      Kenengek - 2012-05-23 21:12

      Vir twee mense wat voorgee hulle ken die situasie in Springbok baie goed dink ek julle moet julle self in die skoene van die voetsoldate sit. Jare lank word die myne in Namakwaland geplunder deur groot maatskappye wat net een oogmerk, dit is om te vat wat hulle kan sonder enige opheffing of effektiewe opbouing van die gemeemskappe. Dit is waar jou voetsoldate gekweek word! Ek kom van Namakwaland, bly in Kaap maar my hart gaan uit na mense wat vriende and familie dalk mag verloor. Daai voetsoldate probeer maar net n stukkie brood op die tafel sit met die enigste "trade" wat hy het.

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