955 miners trapped in S Africa rescued
“Everybody’s out,” mine spokesman James Wellsted told AFP, adding that there were no deaths or serious injuries reported.
There were “cases of dehydration and high blood pressure but nothing serious,” he said.
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 late on Jan. 31 - in batches.
The workers were all brought to the surface within two hours.“It was stressful, there was not enough ventilation,” said mineworker Mike Khonto.
“Thankfully our management managed to send us food and water.”Wellsted said there was “no indication so far that anyone has been in distress”, although it was a “traumatic experience.”A young woman, who spent the night anxiously waiting near the mine for news of her uncle, could not hide her joy.
“We are relieved,” she told AFP, without giving her name.She had been among a group of miners’ relatives who gathered along the road leading to the shaft, and who were kept at a distance by security guards as they awaited developments.
Several ambulances arrived on-site overnight, said an AFP reporter at the scene.At sunrise the rescued workers, still in their work suits and helmets, underwent medical check-ups and left by bus.