At least 11 miners have died and more than 60 others were injured when a cage fell down a shaft after a cable snapped at Impala Platinum Mine in North West.
The company confirmed that the tragic incident happened around 5pm yesterday.
Impala Platinum Mine spokesperson Johan Theron said the incident at Shaft 11 involved its conveyance system, which hoists workers up and down the underground shaft.
“Emergency protocols were immediately applied, but regrettably it failed to raise the sloping conveyance and then slipped down the shaft and there was suddenly a race to the bottom of the shaft when the counterweight which balances the whole system reached the top of the surface. So you almost had an instantaneous deceleration of people standing upright in this convenience,” said Theron.
He said 64 people were admitted to several hospitals.
Theron said medical personnel performed necessary care before they were taken to hospitals.
“This is a national disaster, it is very sobering. The whole Impala team is mourning, the operation has stopped. We have sent some people underground at a shaft to make sure that it is safe. It is not a production day for us, we have to stand together and support each other as the Impala family,” he said.