Zama-Zamas retrieve last two bodies from Langlaagte mine

2016-09-14 09:27
Anxious community members wait at the entrance of the Langlaagte mine shaft. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

Anxious community members wait at the entrance of the Langlaagte mine shaft. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – Twenty-two volunteer rescue workers had to endure a long night as they miraculously retrieved the bodies of the last two miners that were still trapped underground at the Langlaagte mine.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa Ngqabutho Mabhena, who was on the scene and spoke on behalf of the surrounding community, said it was no easy task retrieving the bodies.

Volunteer rescue workers had been searching for the bodies for several days.

Mabhena said the team of volunteers could only find a hole with a 30cm opening and believed they had reached a dead-end.

"They [rescue workers] couldn't access that hole, because of all the heavy equipment that they were carrying," Mabhena said.

The team had to breach the hole without most of their equipment.

Ancestral rituals

"The team don't have any special equipment on them, they only have headlights and the sticks they find underground."

The rescuers found the bodies of the last two trapped miners late on Tuesday. The two men are Sibangani Tsikwa, 24, and Njabulo Sibanda, 31.

Mabhena said one of the bodies was brought closer to the entrance before the rescue team, comprising 22 members, re-entered the mine to recover the second body.

The relatives sang songs and danced as they waited by the entrance of the shaft for the final body to be retrieved. They sobbed uncontrollably when the two bodies were laid next to each other.

A group of highly-specialised rescue technicians and illegal miners formed an unlikely partnership as they spent Monday night searching for the men trapped underground.

two bodies retrieved at the Langlaagte mine
The last two bodies retrieved at the Langlaagte mine. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

Anxious families

Mabhena said previously that 15 volunteers went underground on Friday in search of one trapped miner. The second man who was trapped underground was one of the volunteers who had gone in search of him.

Only eight returned, leaving seven underground. On Saturday another three came out, while a fourth made his way out on Sunday.

On Monday, mine rescue services found two of the remaining volunteers – one was dead and the other, who was in a critical condition, was taken to the Helen Joseph Hospital.

Mabhena said at the time they needed to find a way to enter the hole, because the families would not rest until the bodies came out.

"These people have their... traditions and believe they will only be at ease once the bodies are out," he said.

WATCH: Zama-Zamas retrieve last two bodies from Langlaagte mine

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  mining

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 scientific benefits of owning a cat

According to science, just the act of watching cats itself can bring about positive emotions – so it comes as no surprise then, that owning a cat has a number of benefits.



Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
How to clean your dog’s eyes
This special pooch inspired his brother to learn to stand again
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.