/ 19 January 2009

Miners rescued after 24 hour wait

All 167 mine workers at the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine near Carletonville in the North West were safely brought to the surface more than 24 hours after they were trapped underground, a mine spokesperson said.

”Mine engineers were able to restore power to both the sub-shaft and main-shaft winder systems at the number five shaft, and employees were brought to the surface. No employees were injured,” said James Duncan on Sunday.

Duncan said during the time they were trapped underground, employees remained safely in refuge bays, with adequate water and ventilation.

”Telephone contact was maintained with the employees from the surface throughout the period, and two proto teams also accessed the area via an alternative shaft earlier in the day,” he said.

Six employees who were brought to the surface earlier were admitted to hospital for smoke inhalation.

The incident stemmed from a lightning strike on two sub-stations on Saturday night, trapping about 272 maintenance and essential services employees.

They were working on six different levels between 2 294m and 2 882m below the surface when they were plunged into darkness. – Sapa