A rock collapse in a South African mine has killed eight workers, with a ninth missing and assumed to be trapped within the mine.
Although a further investigation is yet to be carried out, it is believed that the incident took place as a result of a 2.4 magnitude seismic event triggering the collapse. This event also hit a high voltage cable, sparking a fire within the confined space of the mine. Due to the smoke, rocks and the dangers of the fire within such a small area, the rescue team are having to move slowly and carefully to avoid further dangers.
The incident in question took place within Harmony Gold’s Doorstop mine near to Cape Town. A team of 10 specialist rescue teams are currently working to find the final trapped miner, having already recovered the bodies of eight of those who were underground at the time of the accident.
A total of eighteen people were underground at the time of the collapse – nine of these managed to escape ahead of time, raising the alarm to those in the area. The nine who escaped were placed under medical observation for 24 hours.
Of course any mine poses a significant risk to those inside. The confined nature of the environment, unexpected movements of rock and the ability of hazards to arise such as gas or smoke all pose a significant risk to those working within the mine.
“The situation is deeply regrettable,” Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said in a statement.
“We must ensure that we do all we can to get to the bottom of what caused this incident in order to prevent similar occurrences in future.”