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Rescuers no longer retrieving miners’ bodies

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durban deep mine

INLSA

File photo: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Johannesburg - Rescuers will not be able to retrieve more bodies from an abandoned shaft at Durban Deep in Roodepoort because of dangerous gases which have already killed 11 people, Johannesburg emergency services said on Thursday.

Spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said the risk of inhaling carbon monoxide made it unsafe.

He said the organisation was not willing to take chances with the lives of their employees, and that the miners had chosen to enter the mine at their own risk.

It was not clear whether the miners who had brought up the bodies were still alive as no one was on site when the bodies were removed from the surface, Mulaudzi said.

Five more illegal miners were found dead at the mine shaft on the West Rand on Wednesday night.

This was in addition to the bodies of five illegal miners recovered at the same place on Tuesday.

As was the case on Tuesday, the bodies were brought to surface by other illegal miners.

"It looks like they died a couple of days ago. [The bodies] are already decomposing," he said.

A body of another illegal miner was recovered on Sunday in Roodepoort.

Meanwhile on the East Rand, Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini said on Tuesday 25 people emerged from an abandoned mine since emergency services heard screams emanating from it on February 16.

Dlamini said some of the illegal miners had refused to come out because they would face arrest on coming to the surface.

Food and water were previously sent down the mine shaft to provide relief to those who remained underground, but this had been suspended because it was no longer considered an emergency, he said. - Sapa


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