Boy still in mine shaft while 'assessments' continue

2017-03-02 16:03

Johannesburg – The SANDF will only start trying to find a 5-year-old boy who fell down a disused mine shaft in Boksburg once an assessment has been completed.

"The army is here and they have brought their senior leadership in different ranks," Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina said on Thursday. 

South Africa Military Health Services’ Colonel William Bucibe said they met a team of experts to decide on a plan of action.

The SANDF, Masina, Mines Rescue Services and Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services were at the disused shaft, in the Jerusalem informal settlement. A handful of locals stood nearby and watched.

Richard Thole fell into it on Saturday afternoon.

On Wednesday, Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services spokesperson William Ntladi said heavy rock falls had delayed efforts to find Thole.

Over the last few days, Mines Rescue Services had sent a camera down the shaft three times. Every time it got stuck behind a pile of rocks on a ledge at a depth of 60m.

Mines Rescue Services CEO Christo de Klerk said the shaft had been covered with a cement slab, which collapsed during heavy rain.

De Klerk said that at a depth of 36m, the oxygen level in the air was at 11%. Air contains about 21% oxygen.

"I want to make it very clear that no person alive can survive at the level of oxygen," De Klerk said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  accidents  |  mining

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