Trapped South African miners refuse to leave pit

Johannesburg: They refused to be rescued. Emergency workers in South Africa cleared a mine shaft entrance of debris, allowing miners who had been trapped below, the chance to escape.

Staying underground: Fearing arrests, miners are opting to stay in the pit. Pic/AFP

The only problem was that the miners were working illegally at the abandoned mine, and some stayed underground because they feared arrest if they came out.

At least 19 miners were escorted to safety at the mine in Benoni, emergency responder Kobus Du Plooy said.

Rescue workers have packed up and left, leaving behind a ladder in the shaft for those still below. “Should they have a change of heart and mind, they then have at least some access to get out of the shaft,” Du Plooy said.

Reports said more than 200 miners had been trapped. But the ones who emerged were tightlipped about their colleagues. — Agencies

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