Miners in quake were 'very frightened'

One injured gold miner, his skull fractured in Wednesday’s earthquake at Stilfontein, has been transferred to the intensive-care unit at West Vaal hospital in nearby Orkney.

David Griffiths, chief medical officer at Duffscott, a mine facility at Stilfontein, told reporters on Thursday that the other 21 patients had only minor injuries.

“There were no other fractures,” said Griffiths.

In a ward at Duffscott, Simione Masivila, a 38-year-old Mozambican, said he and colleagues looked at one another upon realising they were trapped.

Through an interpreter, he said in Shangaan that they had first tried to make their way out in complete darkness.

Mahola Rasehlohlo (34), from Lesotho, said he heard what sounded like a high wind.

Then the fans stopped and pipes were falling around him, he said.

“Some of our lamps were not working but we managed to light them and we saw we could do nothing ... until the rescuers came,” said Rasehlohlo.

Moeketsi Moeletsi (45), also from Lesotho, said it had been cold while they were stuck underground.

He said he and his colleagues had run out of food and water.

“We were very frightened we might not be found.”

Meanwhile, Griffiths said he was stunned that casualties were not as bad as they could have been.

The miners had been underground since 12.15pm on Wednesday when the earthquake struck DRDGold’s number-five shaft at Stilfontein.

The body of a miner killed in the quake remained underground on Thursday and one miner was still missing.

Thirty-eight miners had been trapped.

All shafts other than number five shaft were operational on Thursday.—Sapa

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