All 955 miners freed from South African gold mine

Miners who were trapped underground are transported to a safe holding area after being trapped underground in Welkom, South Africa. Photo by STR/EPA

Feb. 2 (UPI) — All of the nearly 1000 miners trapped in the Sibanye-Stillwater’s Beatrix gold mine in South Africa due to a power outage were brought back to the surface.

“Everybody’s out,” James Wellsted, a spokesman for the operating firm Sibanye-Stillwater, said.

The workers had been trapped underground since Wednesday after a storm knocked out the electrical supply and back-up generators failed to work.

Wellsted said there were incidents of dehydration and high blood pressureamong some workers, however, most of the miners were unharmed.

Phakiso Nanyane, a miner who was trapped with his coworkers for about 30 hours underground, criticized the emergency response for medical attention and food, calling the incident a “dangerous” situation.

“The problem is that management could not foresee it,” Nanyane said to SABC’s Morning Live show. “The first time we went in at night. We only came out the next morning at around 11am. Now we went in at 10pm on Wednesday we are only coming out now on Friday. We ask ourselves‚ what will happen if this continues.”

Nanyane said this was the second time that miners were left trapped underground.

Koloi Tisa, the chairperson representing the gold mine for the National Union of Mineworkers, agreed with employees that their “safety is at risk” in the underground mines, particularly with the faulty generators.

“We have realized — and everybody can agree — that the generators we have here are not effective. Because the first generator couldn’t take the weight‚ it tripped. That means there is no maintenance on these generators‚” Tisa said.

The Beatrix mine is located in Welkom, about 180 miles south-west of Johannesburg, and reaches about 3,280 feet below ground.


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