Mine shaft will be boy’s last resting place, recovery operation too dangerous

Richard Thole, 5, fell down the Baltimore Mine shaft earlier this month Picture: Supplied : Supplied
Richard Thole, 5, fell down the Baltimore Mine shaft earlier this month
Picture: Supplied

The final resting place for five-year old Richard Thole will be the disused mine shaft he fell into weeks ago.

The family have been informed by the Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina that they will not be able to give him a funeral as recovery missions have been permanently called off.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has concluded that the only safe option is leaving the boy’s body Thole buried in the disused mine shaft in Jerusalem informal settlement in Boksburg.

Thole‚ who fell down a 140m deep mineshaft three weeks ago‚ was allegedly playing with his friend when he fell to his death.

The SANDF was called in by Masina to assist in the recovery of the body after Mine Rescue Services were unsuccessful in their recovery operations.

The SANDF said in its report that after evaluating the disused mine shaft‚ more lives were likely to be lost should the recovery operations continue.

“The report provided sufficient evidence that there is a possibility of losing more people in the attempt to recover the body‚ as going down further into the shaft poses a greater risk of the ground caving in‚” read the statement from Masina’s office.

The statement says that the SANDF has now tasked the Research and Development staff officers to ask the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to investigate new technologies to address future incidents of this nature.

— TMG Digital/The Times

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