Hundreds of workers trapped in South African gold mine
More than 900 miners have been trapped in a South African mine for at least 24 hours after it lost power following a violent storm on Wednesday.
Several hundred workers have already been brought up from the Beatrix gold mine, managing company Sibanye-Stillwater told state broadcaster SABC, but another 955 remain trapped.
Angry family members have gathered near the mine as their relatives enter their second day underground, the state broadcaster reported.
“Everyone is accounted, they are safe and in a safe place and we are providing food and water,” spokesman James Wellsted told SABC.
Wellsted said the company was working to restore power to the mine, which is located in the city of Theunissen in the Free State.
According to the spokesman, the miners had been kept close to the shaft to ensure they were in a well ventilated area with ready access to food and water being delivered.
“Rather than trying to use a secondary escape way, which would have entailed a four hour walk,” Wellsted said, adding there were medical officers on the scene.
South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said Thursday it is “extremely concerned” about the situation.
“AMCU calls on Sibanye-Stillwater to mobilize all resources to rescue the workers as soon as possible. The Union also questions the lack of contingency plans in place to deal with this type of incidents,” the organization said in a statement.