File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media
Welkom – The search for more miners continues in a Welkom mine after 24 bodies were retrieved, Free State police said on Tuesday. "Thirteen more bodies have been retrieved, which brings the number to 24.

"The mine's security company is busy retrieving the bodies. At this time we have no idea who the people are. Some have name tags on so in some cases we have names," police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said.

"We are not sure how many people are trapped inside but they [the mine] expect that there could be more. For now the search continues."

She said the police were investigating the deaths of 24 people and have opened an inquest case. At around 10am on Monday, the mine security informed the police of the bodies that had been retrieved underground from the Eland Shaft mine in Welkom, Mbambo said.

"This follows an apparent explosion underground on Thursday the 11 May 2017," Mbambo said.

"Bodies that were retrieved were found to be in a decomposing state and others had name tags attached to them. The cause of the explosion is not yet known and will form part of the investigation. The bodies who were found not to be employees of the mine are yet to be identified and to determine what they were doing underground. A postmortem will also be conducted to determine the exact cause of death."