12 illegal miners rescued in South Africa, others stay underground
Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 01:21
Feb. 16 - Twelve illegal miners have been rescued from an abandoned gold mine near Johannesburg. Others remain underground and are believed to fear arrest. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A dozen South African illegal miners are brought to the surface Sunday after being trapped in an abandoned gold mine near Johannesburg.
They were never supposed to go into the mine.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF DISASTER AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES, MOSHIMA MOSIYA, SAYING;
"This was a closed shaft, it was closed with concrete slabs, deliberately so to prevent people from entering, but they have somehow to open up a hole on the site and currently I think we are able to talk to the people that are trapped inside. We are enlarging the hole so that we can able to lift them out of the shaft."
Authorities say an unknown number remain underground -- and may fear arrest.
Those brought to the surface were checked by medics and then handed over to the police.
Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in South Africa.
The miners often live underground in dangerous and precarious conditions.
Fatal accidents are common, and underground battles between rival groups have also been reported.
As the rescue operations end for the day -- there are no immediate reports of death or injury.
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