3,000 miners trapped in S. Africa

Oct. 3, 2007 at 7:56 PM
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CARLETONVILLE, South Africa, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- More than 3,000 miners were trapped underground in a South African gold mine after power accidentally was cut to an elevator used to take them to the surface.

"Nobody was injured, but there was extensive damage to the steel work and electrical feeder cords," Harmony Gold spokesperson Amelia Soares said of the Wednesday collapse at the Elandstrand mine near Carletonville.

Workers at the surface modified a second elevator, normally used to carry waste, to rescue the trapped workers, the Independent Online Web site in Cape Town reported.

Soares said the rescue would "take quite a while" because the elevator could carry only 300 workers to the surface every 30 minutes.

Mine managers were in contact with the workers, who had access to water and adequate ventilation, Soares said. Miners' families were being kept informed of developments.

So many miners were trapped, she said, because two mine shafts were in operation.

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