South Africa: 11 illegal miners rescued from abandoned gold mine shaft in Benoni nr Johannesburg, unknown number refuse to come up fearing arrest – 160214 1725z

Latest: About 10 miners have been rescued alive, more are coming up rapidly

(1554z – Alex Crawford Sky News)
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(Crane being moved into position to remove a large boulder)

Emergency and rescue services have been busy for over six hours trying to free trapped illegal miners outside Benoni CBD on Johannesburgs East Rand.

It is understood they were trapped since early yesterday.

Since early this morning paramedics and rescuers joined forces to set up a plan on how to free them. Numerous heavy duty rescue vehicles and equipment was brought to the old mine shaft to stabilise the ground.

Shortly before 15:00 rescue workers managed to lift the first large rock from the small opening and are hopeful that they will be able to reach some of the miners in die course.

According to local Ekhuruleni Metro Police they were patrolling the open veld for illegal dumping when they heard the cries for help. Upon further investigation they found the illegal miners trapped beneath several layers boulders. The officials then called for rescue services.

Rescue services have since tried to remove the boulders and managed to remove one large boulder. They have also tried to send bottles of water down to the trapped miners.

According to the miners, which can only be verbally communicated with, there are 30 of them trapped in the top section and another 200 odd in another section below them. However this is still difficult to confirm.

Disaster vehicles and law enforcement officials have staged on the scene awaiting the miners. They will be assessed and treated should they have any injuries. The police will also be involved.” – ER24 Emergency Services February 16, 2014 15:25 (SA Time)

Update 1557z:

“Emergency workers have succeeded to gain access to the illegal miners trapped underground in Benoni.

 

Several miners have been brought to surface. As they are being lifted out of the one squared meter hole they are escorted to the medical station where they are checked for any injuries. Once they are cleared they are taken into custody by the local police and EMPD.

 

It still remains unclear if there is any truth in what the miners have told rescuers that several others are trapped in a separate section of the mine. Once the first group have been brought to the surface, rescue workers will make their way down to inspect and search for other miners.

An eight hour joint affront between numerous services made it possible to rescue these miners” – ER24 Emergency Services February 16, 2014 17:53(SA Time)

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(Rescue teams setting up to start securing the site)

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(Heavily armed officers present at the illegal mine in Benoni. Rescue has begun. ER24 on scene and ready)

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(Aerial view of mine rescue in of illegal miners)

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(Crane being moved into position to remove a large boulder)

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(Aerial view of mine rescue)

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(First illegal miner just surfaced)

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(First two miners rescued so far. ER24 on scene ready to treat the injured)

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(Another miner rescued. ER24 assessing the miners before being handed over to SAP)

Other Reports

“Rescuers are communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.

Werner Vermaak of ER24 emergency services said rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

They told us there are about 200 others trapped further below, Vermaak said.

Its an abandoned mine shaft in the middle of the public veld (open fields) … it was not a blocked-off area, he added. No injuries or casualties had been reported so far, Vermaak said.

Heavy equipment had been brought in to try to remove the boulders obstructing the shaft.

Illegal mining of abandoned shafts is common in South Africa, where informal miners excavate mineral ore to be sold to buyers, often living underground in dangerous and precarious conditions. Fatal accidents are common, and underground battles between rival groups have also been reported.

The illegal diggers also sometimes invade active mines. At least 82 men – thought to have been illegal miners – died after an underground fire at a Harmony gold mine in South Africa in 2009.” – khaleejtimes.com/Reuters

Zimbabwe: Speeding bus hits herd of cattle on Beitbridge-Masvingo highway, leaving 6 dead, 37 injured – 300513 1530z

Six people died and 37 others were injured when a Pioneer bus ran into a herd of cattle and landed on its side at the 237km peg along the Beitbridge-Masvingo highway.

(Photo: africanseer.com) Zimbabwe bus accident kills 6, injures 37

ZRP Officer Commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo confirmed the accident, saying the bus, which had 55 people on board, was coming from Johannesburg.

He said the bus driver, who was speeding, lost control of the vehicle after hitting one of the cows and the bus landed on its side, killing five women on the spot and the bus conductor.

The injured passengers were taken to Beitbridge District Hospital. Chief Superintendent Chinhengo urged motorists to exercise extreme caution on the roads to avoid accidents.
Thursday, 30 May, 2013 at 03:36 (03:36 AM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

6 killed, 37 injured in Beitbridge accident

herald.co.zw

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Six people were killed while 37 others were injured, three of them seriously, when a Pioneer bus ploughed into a herd of cattle 40km along the Beitbridge-Masvingo Road on Tuesday night.

The incident occurred at around 10:30 pm near Matshiloni area where police and officials from the Civil Protection Unit spent the whole night trying to retrieve the bodies from the wreckage.

They managed to pull out all the bodies at around 5am yesterday.
It is reported that the bus, which was coming from Johannesburg, South Africa, tried to overtake a haulage truck oblivious of oncoming traffic and later hit a cow as the driver tried to avoid an imminent head on collision.

Among those who were killed were the bus conductor and five passengers, all women, and they have since been taken to Beitbridge District Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem.
The police officer commanding Beitbridge district Chief Superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo said yesterday that the bus had 55 passengers on board.

He said they suspected the accident was a result of speeding.
He said the victims’ next of kin were yet to be notified.

śIndications are that the Pioneer (Yotung Model) was travelling to Harare from Johannesburg being driven by Big Chirimuta.
śThe bus had 55 passengers on board and when they were 40km out of Beitbridge along Masvingo road, the driver overtook a haulage truck oblivion of oncoming traffic. When he tried to avoid a herd on collision he ploughed into a herd of cattle,ť he said.

Chief Supt Chinhengo said as a result the bus hit one of the cows and turned 360 degrees to face Beitbridge town before lending on its side.
He said in the process six people were trapped under the bus and died instantly, while 37 other including Chirimuta were injured.

śThree of the passengers were seriously injured including the driver and they are still admitted at Beitbridge district hospital where their condition is reported to be stable,ť he   said.

Chief Supt Chinhengo said 33 other passengers were treated and discharged at the same hospital.
He said the matter was still under investigations.

He also urged motorists to always abide by the basic road regulations so as to avoid the unnecessary loss of life.
śWe want to urge all road users to always abide by the laws of the land so as to avoid the unnecessary loss of life. Investigations so far reveal that the accident was a result of speeding, something which was avoidable,ť he said.

Investigations by this paper recently showed that some criminals who operate along the same area (Matshiloni) are in the habit of driving cattle into the road and cause accidents thereby opening opportunities to loot valuables.

In some cases they even put boulders on the road and pounce on motorists when they stop to clear the road. Several motorists have been robbed at the same point while others lost their lives due to the road accidents orchestrated by these criminals.

Last year police arrested over 13 robbers who have been terrorising road users on highways leading to Bulawayo and Harare.” – herald.co.zw