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SA Mine Disaster: 14 Bodies of Zimbabwe Illegal Miners Recovered

  • Tatenda Gumbo

File Photo: A suspected illegal miner climbs out of a ventilation shaft used to access an abandoned gold shaft in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, February 17, 2014.

File Photo: A suspected illegal miner climbs out of a ventilation shaft used to access an abandoned gold shaft in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, February 17, 2014.

Fourteen bodies of the more than 30 illegal miners, most of them from Zimbabwe feared dead in an abandoned mine in Roodeport, South Africa, have been recovered by families as they continue their rescue efforts.

The miners are suspected to have died after inhaling high levels of carbon monoxide underground the disused mine. Rescuers were able to identify 23 of the many bodies that remain underground.

The City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services said though have attempted to assist in the rescue efforts they had to abandon the operation after detecting high levels of carbon monoxide in one of the shafts.

Families of those trapped in the mine have opted to continue their efforts to retrieve the bodies of loved ones, despite safety warnings. Zimbabwe Embassy officials visited the mine Thursday and asked for the names of the deceased.

Unused mines throughout South Africa, suspected to have huge gold deposits, have attracted scores of unemployed people from the southern African region who are working with some South Africans in the mines.
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