March 9, 2011 By

Trapped South African Miners Rescued From Gold Mine

gold mine trapAround eleven illegal South African miners were rescued on Sunday, after they were trapped in an abandoned gold mine near east of Johannesburg suburb of Benoni.  Several others who fear arrest remain underground, an emergency services spokesman said. The miners are accused of illegal mining and have been taken into police custody.

No deaths or injuries have been reported and those rescued were handed over to the police after checking by the medics. The miners were trapped by fallen boulders which obstructed the shaft below the surface at the old mine site. Shain Germaner, a journalist for the Star newspaper, told Al Jazeera that the men were believed to have been trapped since Saturday morning.

The rescue operations continue in police presence and mine security guards with heavy equipment brought in to remove the boulders.  According to the rescued, two hundred more diggers were feared to be trapped inside. Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in South Africa, where illegal miners excavate mineral ore to be sold to buyers, often living underground in dangerous conditions. Fatal accidents are common, and underground battles between rival groups have also been reported.

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