A scuffle broke out between police and onlookers in Johannesburg yesterday as one man was being put into an ambulance on a stretcher after being rescued from a disused mine.
A large crowd of friends and family had gathered not far from the entrance to an old shaft of Johannesburg’s oldest gold mine, Langlaagte.
Up to 50 illegal miners are believed to have been trapped in the mine since last Wednesday.
Yesterday, after one miner was found, a crowd charged forward as the man was being wheeled into the ambulance wanting to identify who he was.
Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said the 52-year-old Zimbabwean national had gone underground on Friday to look for the trapped miners.
Some in the crowd shouted that it was unfair that they were being blocked off as they needed to identify who the person was.
A woman who had identified the man pleaded with the officials to allow his pregnant wife, who was in the crowd, to go into the ambulance and go with him to hospital.
The wife, who looked drained and confused, was allowed into the ambulance and sat by her husband as he was been driven to hospital.
Women ululated as the ambulance drove off and some among the crowd could be heard saying: “Thank God he is alive.”