Miners 'not too scared' during dramatic rescue

2015-02-23 08:20
Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville, where 486 employees working underground were rescued following a fire. (Photo: Harmony Gold)

Kusasalethu gold mine near Carletonville, where 486 employees working underground were rescued following a fire. (Photo: Harmony Gold)

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Johannesburg - One of the 486 miners who was rescued from a mine near Carletonville on Sunday after being trapped by a fire for over 10 hours, has described how he and the other miners were not too scared.

Obed Mthembu told Netwerk24 that they knew they would be rescued from the mine and they had places to hide.

This was despite "dangerous things" happening in the mine, he said.

A fire broke out at Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu gold mine at about 09:40 on Sunday morning. A rescue mission was launched to rescue the mineworkers on 75 level, about 2 300 metres below the surface.

The fire was believed to have started during maintenance work on a bulk air cooler.

The miners moved to refuge bays underground, which had a fresh air supply as well as water and telephone communication to the surface.

Harmony Gold said on Sunday evening that all 486 miners trapped by the fire had been safely brought to the surface following a 12-hour rescue operation.

No injuries were reported, and counselling had been offered to the miners, Harmony said.

Read more on:    harmony gold  |  johannesburg  |  mining

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