About 950 miners trapped underground in S. Africa

Updated 2018-02-02 13:42:00 Xinhua

About 950 miners were trapped underground at a gold mine after a power failure in the Northern Free State in South Africa on Thursday, the mine's owner said.

"We have got 955 employees still underground, they are in a confined and safe area, it's the shaft waiting area (and) there is ventilation," James Wellsted, spokesman for Sibanye-Stillwater, told local media.

According to the spokesman, the stranded miners are supplied with water and food.

"So everybody is fine at the moment. We are trying to restore power so we can start hoisting them to the surface," he said.

The company is reportedly using a generator to get the workers out of the mine.

The South African Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu) said they want the government to investigate the cause of the tragedy.

"Our government needs to come to the party with some tangible enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and work to reduce mine accidents," Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu national spokesperson said.

They also called for the emergency services to double their efforts to rescue the trapped miners. Cosatu also said mining companies should learn from past experiences to prevent an increase of mine fatalities.

"We need solid and sensible prevention mechanisms in place to help reduce and ultimately stop mining fatalities," Pamla said.

Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is scheduled to visit the mine Friday to understand what transpired for the miners to be trapped.

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