Bodies of miners found in Northern Cape

2012-05-23 10:19

Johannesburg - The bodies of two illegal miners have been brought to the surface of a collapsed mine near Kleinzee in the Northern Cape, police said on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Captain Cherelle Ehlers said 16 men remained trapped underground. Rescuers did not know if they were dead or alive.

"A national rescue team is on the way from Bloemfontein to help with the rescue."

One miner was freed from the rubble alive late on Tuesday, and was recovering in Springbok Hospital.
"His injuries were minor, but he was suffering from severe shock."

Rescue efforts were being hampered by loose gravel and, as fast as rescuers dug, so the hole caved in, Ehlers said.

The disused tunnels where the illegal miners were digging for diamonds were part of the Bontekou mine and were closed in April.

Thirty men were in the tunnels when they collapsed at 3am on Tuesday, but 11 escaped and raised the alarm.

Kleinzee residents gathered at the mine on Wednesday waiting for news of family and friends trapped underground.

In March this year a group of illegal gold miners died in a rockfall at the Grootvlei mine on Gauteng's East Rand.

The mine was closed and authorities said at the time it was too unstable to go underground to attempt a rescue or retrieve the men's bodies.

  • francois.smith.7 - 2012-05-23 10:52

    It is truly a tragedy that people are forced to take these chances to feed their families. It is ironic that government are so strict on people who can mine, but does not protect these people by a) policing the mines b) seeing to it that they get their social grants c) seeing to it that there is not a competition for scarse resources with illegal immigrants d) spending money and time on court cases regarding freedom of expression but not on feeding the people

      frans.vanderpoll - 2012-05-23 11:25

      I wish the government can see the level of poverty and job shortages in the Northern Cape. The people are from the poorest of the poor and yet there are no plan of action from government.

      Dee - 2012-05-23 11:46

      Yes, it is a tragedy, and as far as 'criminal or illegal' activitiy goes, their hard labour attempts to eke out a living does not involve killing rhinos, people, or stealing directly from a neighbour. I hope the survivors are treated with compassion.

  • John - 2012-05-23 11:40

    I actually don't care for them at all. Let them starve to death. Why must our police service be placed in danger to rescue these idiots? Us SA citizens need an effective police force so this is just a wste of time and resources.

  • Nella - 2012-05-23 12:04

    The mine hire people for safety and security to keep tresspassers away from mines, because of the dangers there is, These people have been warned and chased away probably, but still they go back. Why do they go back after numerous warnings and dig where they know they are putting their own lives in danger. What don't people understand about mines that are closed, they are closed for a reason. I feel sorry for these people that went illegal mining, but I believe some of them were also throwing stones to the security(who also have families worrying about their safety) who tried to get them of the property, because of the dangers there. Now see what has happend to them. A lot of us are struggling, but we seek jobs to put food on the table.

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