Illegal miners rescued in Welkom

2012-05-24 11:42

Bloemfontein - Police and search and rescue personnel have brought another eight trapped illegal miners to the surface at a disused mine near Welkom, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

Captain Steven Thakeng said this brought the total number of illegal miners rescued at the disused Harmony Gold mine to 18.

It was suspected that another four “zama-zamas”, as illegal miners were called in the industry, were still trapped underground.

Thakeng said rescuers worked through the night to bring the latest eight to the surface. They were medically checked and arrested for trespassing.

There was no indication of possible casualties yet.

Two illegal miners raised the alarm on Tuesday, saying fellow miners were trapped underground following a rockfall in the early hours.

Police said they were digging for gold in the disused Harmony mine when parts of it began to cave in.

The company had sealed the mine but illegal workers, many of them from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho, had burrowed in.

  • Mike - 2012-05-24 12:30

    Its commendable that our rescue personnel do this sort of work, in this case to save the lives of illegal miners. These guys are often armed and extremely dangerous. Why do we waist our time, resources and at what risk ? Maybe it would have been better to leave these thieves to deal with the consequences of their actions alone. As for the legal process - arrest, court, bail, jail, released, continue mining again. Would you expect a different outcome ?

      Mike - 2012-05-24 12:31

      Sorry. '...waste..'

  • Jeffrey - 2012-05-24 12:38

    I wish South Africa was a good country. it has all lopeholes to have an elephant pass

  • Tamz van Aswegen - 2012-05-24 16:37

    they are criminals! leave them underground to die! why fill up more of our jails??

  • Mikkel - 2012-05-24 17:44

    Yeah why even bother to save them?

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