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Search for miners' bodies called off

By unknown | Jan 18, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The search for the bodies of five illegal miners believed to have been buried alive in a disused mine has been suspended.

Authorities said the search in Mpumalanga has been put on hold because it is too dangerous for members of the rescue team.

Last week seven men went into an abandoned mine in Barberton in search of gold remains. When they tried to get out, rocks fell and only two managed to escape.

The other five were buried under the rockfall and their bodies have still not been recovered.

A rescue team from Secunda and members of the Barberton police yesterday called off the search, saying rocks had started to collapse again.

The two men who managed to escape told the police that they risked their lives going into the 120m deep gold shaft because of hunger.

Xolile Maziya, 26, and Mandla Zitha, 22, have been helping the police with directions to where their friends died.

Constable Jabu Ndubane said: "We will hold a meeting with the mine rescue team for other ways possible to remove the trapped bodies."

This is not the first time people have been trapped inside the old mine shaft.

Last year 11 illegal miners were arrested for getting into the mine.

In October a search for the body of Alfred Dliwako, a Zimbabwean illegal miner, was called off after it also became too costly.

Dliwako is believed to have died in the mine shaft while searching for gold remains.

Police said some incidents of death or injuries involving illegal miners are not reported to the police for fear of arrest.

The police's gold and diamond unit is investigating all cases of illegal mining in Barberton.


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