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955 Workers Trapped In South African Mine For Two Days

Owner says “no indication so far that anyone has been in distress” after the incident

All 955 gold miners who were trapped underground for more than a day in South Africa following a power cut resurfaced unharmed on Friday, the mine’s owner, Sibanye Gold, said.

“Everybody’s out,” said spokesman James Wellsted, adding that there were “cases of dehydration and high blood pressure but nothing serious.”

Stranded for 30 hours

The miners were stuck in the Beatrix gold mine, in the small town of Theunissen near the city of Welkom, for around 30 hours after a massive power outage caused by a storm prevented lifts from bringing workers on the night shift to the surface.

After several hours engineers were able to restore power, allowing the hoist to bring up the miners — who had been trapped since Wednesday evening — in batches.

Asked if there had been any casualties, Mr. Wellsted said there was “no indication so far that anyone has been in distress” although it had been a “traumatic experience.”

Several ambulances arrived on-site overnight, the AFP reporter said.

Kin pensive

Nervous family members had earlier patiently gathered along the road to the shaft, kept at a distance by security guards.

A rescue operation is underway to release 955 workers from a gold mine in South Africa after a power cut left them trapped.

A spokesman for the mine’s operating company said on Friday morning that power had been restored to a lift to release them.

Rescue efforts

The miners have been trapped underground since Wednesday night.

South Africa is a leading gold producer, but safety in the industry is often questioned.

The Beatrix mine is in Welkom Town, about 290km south-west of Johannesburg. It is owned by Sibanye-Stillwater mining firm.

It has 23 levels, going down to 1,000 metres (3,280 ft) below ground.

Rescued workmen are expected to get taken for food and showers upon their release, before having medical health checks.

A reporter for the AFP news agency said several ambulances arrived overnight at the site.

Counselling

Company spokesman James Wellsted said there was “no indication so far that anyone has been in distress”, but that counselling has been made available to the workers and their families.

On Thursday he said water and food supplies had been able to reach the miners, but engineers were struggling to get emergency generators operating.

The power outage is believed to have been caused after a storm knocked over an electricity pylon close to the site.

Trade union officials had said they feared that the lives of the miners were at risk.

More than 80 fatalities were recorded in South African mines in 2017.

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