February 17, 2014

Trapped South African Miners Arrested After Escape

The BBC's Nomsa Maseko tweeted this picture of one escaped miner shouting down the shaft to tell his colleagues there were no police around
The BBC’s Nomsa Maseko tweeted this picture of one escaped miner shouting down the shaft to tell his colleagues there were no police around

Ten illegal gold miners have emerged, dusty and thirsty, from an old South African mine in which more are feared trapped.

The police were hidden behind a fire engine.

The miners are reported to have been trapped by a group of rival illegal miners.

The landscape around the abandoned mine near Johannesburg is dotted with similar abandoned shafts – attracting men from around the region with the promise of remaining gold deposits.

Some men may also be resisting coming to the surface of the mine because they fear losing any gold they have found, say correspondents.

Previous reports suggested as many as 200 fellow miners remained underground, but our correspondent says the latest estimates put the figure far lower.

It is not clear when this operation will end, as it is not known exactly how many remain underground. They are once more refusing to come up in case they are arrested, our correspondent says.

The miners have been using this ventilation shaft to come up
The miners have been using this ventilation shaft to come up

Many of the miners are from Mozambique and Lesotho, officials say.

The official rescue operation was suspended on Sunday after 11 miners agreed to come out. All 11 have now been charged.

Other trapped miners refused to leave after discovering they faced arrest.

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