Zama zamas rescued, more believed trapped

2016-09-11 21:21
Rescue operation for miners trapped at Langlaagte (Supplied)

Rescue operation for miners trapped at Langlaagte (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Four informal miners were rescued from a disused mineshaft in Langlaagte, Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon, with more miners thought to be still trapped, police said.

"Today we managed to rescue four people," said Captain Kay Makhubela. "Two were taken to hospital, and two were arrested and detained."

Informal miners, known as "zama zamas" work illegally in abandoned and disused mines, usually in very dangerous conditions, and with rudimentary equipment.

The latest ordeal started when a group of miners at the Langlaagte Field Mine, a heritage site, did not surface on Wednesday.

On Thursday a group of 16 other miners went down to look for them but only eight surfaced. 

Somebody went and called the police for help and the rescue started.

Rescuers at Langlaagte where four trapped illegal miners were rescued (Supplied)

The four who were brought out on Sunday said they felt weak and dizzy and that there was smoke underground that made it very difficult to breathe.

Makhubela said the rescue was suspended late on Sunday afternoon because the conditions underground were unsafe. They would reassess and go back in when it was considered safer.



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