South Africa Diamond Mine Tunnel Collapse – The bodies of 10 illegal miners were recovered nr Kleinzee

The bodies of 10 illegal miners were recovered from a disused diamond mine near Kleinzee, in the Northern Cape on Saturday, De Beers said.

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Kleinzee mining rescue
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Ten deceased diggers had been recovered from the collapsed tunnels [by Saturday evening].

One digger has been rescued and eleven diggers reportedly escaped,” the diamond company said in a statement.”

The co-ordinated rescue and recovery operation is continuing.

The operation will progress until all illegally excavated tunnels are found and searched for survivors or deceased diggers.”

De Beers said the collapsed tunnel that was discovered by the rescue team was cleared on Saturday.

“Mining could then proceed towards what is reported, by diggers, to be another tunnel in the network.

This work will continue until the tunnel is intersected.”The tunnels were not part of a previously worked underground mine but were excavated illegally at the site.

On Friday, rescuers recovered the bodies of five miner at the site, police spokesperson Captain Cherelle Ehlers said. She said rescue teams reached the collapsed tunnel by digging a trench alongside the entrance of a disused mine to try and get to the trapped miners.

Earlier this week, police recovered two bodies and rescuers could see another, but the unstable conditions prevented them from retrieving it.

One injured illegal digger was later rescued.

Tunnels at the mine collapsed at 15:00 on Tuesday.

The mine had closed the tunnels in April.Eleven illegal diggers reportedly escaped and alerted the police.

The collapsed hole was about six metres deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area.

Sunday, 27 May, 2012 at 11:00 (11:00 AM) UTC RSOE

Captain Cherelle Ehlers said rescue teams reached a collapsed tunnel by digging a trench alongside the entrance of a disused mine to try and get to 15 trapped illegal miners.

She said conditions at the site were extremely difficult and dangerous.

The ANCs Chief Whip in the Northern Cape Legislature Kagisho Molusi has in the meantime expressed condolences to the families of the miners.

Earlier this week, police recovered two bodies and rescuers could see another, but the unstable conditions prevented them from retrieving it.

One injured illegal digger was later rescued. He was treated for shock at a Springbok hospital.

Mine engineers visited the site earlier this week and decided to dig a ditch alongside the tunnel where the diggers were trapped, from which to try and reach them.

Tunnels at the mine collapsed at 3pm on Tuesday. The mine closed the tunnels in April.

Eleven illegal diggers reportedly escaped and alerted the police. The collapsed hole was about six metres deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area.

Ehlers said the rescue operation was continuing late on Friday afternoon.

Molusi urged people to consult with relevant structures and to take the necessary procedures when carrying out mining activities.

We value the lives of our people and encourage them to have a better understanding of the implications and risks of such activities.

Molusi said the De Beers mining group should move faster in establishing partnerships with previously disadvantaged people in rehabilitating the unused mines in the province.

He thanked the rescue teams for the work done under dangerous conditions. – iol.co.za