EMERGENCY services on Wednesday raced to rescue 17 miners trapped deep underground in a burning mine about 30km west of Johannesburg‚ Harmony Gold said.
Rescuers reached eight employees located in an underground refuse bay and were bringing them to surface‚ while efforts continued to establish the whereabouts of a further nine employees still feared trapped.
The fire broke out at about 6pm on Tuesday in a stope about 1.7km beneath the surface‚ at the firm’s Doornkop single-shaft gold mine.
“The rescue teams are continuing to try to locate the other individuals who are unaccounted for — there are still nine employees who are unaccounted for‚” said spokeswoman Charmane Russell.
“Rescue teams were immediately dispatched underground‚ but access to the affected area is being hampered by smoke and a subsequent fall of ground‚” Harmony Gold said.
“We can’t speculate on the cause‚ it is really early — all the focus right now is on trying to locate the missing men.”
Operations at the mine have been suspended. – © BDlive 2013, with AFP