News / Africa

Eight South African Miners Freed, Nine Still Missing

TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— South African emergency workers rescued eight miners trapped a mile underground by a fire and rockfall in Harmony Gold's Doornkop mine Wednesday, but nine others were unaccounted for.

Rescue teams battled through smoke and debris at a depth of 1,700 meters to reach the eight. The miners had managed to flee to a refuge bay equipped with a telephone and other survival items.

“Efforts continue to establish the whereabouts of a further nine employees who are currently unaccounted for,” the company said in a statement.

Chief Executive Graham Briggs canceled a presentation at a major industry conference in Cape Town to fly to Johannesburg to oversee the rescue effort at the mine, 30 km (20 miles) west of Johannesburg. Normal mining operations were suspended.

“There were 139 underground and 35 people in the affected area,” Briggs told journalists at the mine. “All of the [rescued] miners walked quite comfortably when they came out. They are under observation for the next 24 hours.”

The National Union of Mineworkers said the fire broke out on Tuesday evening after an earthquake damaged ventilation and water pipes as well as power cables.

“The damage to the electric cables triggered the fire underground, which is still burning,” it said in a statement.

South Africa's gold mines are the deepest in the world and ranked as some of the most dangerous during the apartheid years. Since the end of white-minority rule in 1994, the government, unions and companies have worked hard to improve safety, but 112 people were still killed in 2012, the last year for which records are available.

Tumi Mokgele, a Doornkop miner who was on the ground level when the accident happened, said the incident highlighted the need to increase wages for workers and vindicated those who have gone on strike in the country's platinum belt.

“Then you say the 12,500 rand [wage hike] that we want is a lot. It's small,” Mokgele told Reuters.

At least 82 men - thought to have been illegal miners - died after an underground fire at a Harmony mine in 2009. Most of the victims are believed to have died of suffocation.

All miners carry emergency oxygen packs and rescue bays are equipped with food, water and breathing equipment in the event of prolonged underground entrapment.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid