S. African rescuers trying to reach over 200 trapped illegal miners

JOHANNESBURG Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:57am EST

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JOHANNESBURG Feb 16 (Reuters) - Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.

Werner Vermaak of ER24 emergency services told Reuters rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface.

"They told us there are about 200 others trapped further below," Vermaak said. (Reporting by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Ed Stoddard)