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Rescuers have removed one more body from the Bontekou mine at Kleinzee, where about 15 illegal miners were trapped by loose gravel, Northern Cape police said on Thursday.
Spokeswoman Captain Cherelle Ehlers said the conditions at the rescue site were extremely difficult and dangerous.
Earlier, one illegal digger was rescued. He had sustained minor injuries. He was treated for shock in a hospital in Springbok. Another three escaped unharmed.
Police have now recovered two bodies, and rescuers could see another, but the unstable conditions had prevented them from retrieving it.
Mine engineers have visited the site to make an analysis. It was decided that a ditch would be dug alongside the tunnel in which the diggers were trapped, from which rescuers would try to reach them.
Police from Kommagas, Kleinzee, and Port Nolloth, and search and rescue teams from Upington and Kimberley, the De Beers Mine, and officials from Nama Khoi disaster management and rescue services were involved in the rescue effort.
Tunnels at the mine collapsed on Tuesday at 3pm. The mine closed the tunnels in April.
Eleven illegal diggers reportedly managed to escape and alerted police. The collapsed hole was about six metres deep and led to several tunnels and an underground waiting area. - Sapa