The body of one of the five miners trapped at Harmony Gold’s Kusasalethu mine near Carletonville following a seismic event on Friday has been brought to the surface.
“Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries,” the company said in a statement on Saturday evening.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic incident. Every effort was and continues to be made to get to all of our colleagues as quickly and as safely as possible. Our sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the deceased,” CEO Peter Steenkamp said.
Four employees still remained unaccounted for and rescue efforts would continue until they had been found.
Earlier on Saturday, Harmony Gold said specially trained mine rescue teams had been working throughout the night to rescue five employees trapped underground at Kusasalethu mine.
The incident followed a seismic event about 3100 metres below the surface at around 10.30am on Friday, which resulted in a fall of ground, Harmony said in a statement.
“All operations at the mine, other than those related to the rescue, have been suspended. Rescue efforts will continue until the five men have been found. Further information will be released as this becomes available,” Harmony said.
On Friday evening, Harmony spokeswoman Marian van der Walt said rescuers “will search for the employees who are trapped underground until we find them; saving them is our priority at the moment”.
Van der Walt said about 3000 miners were working when sections of the mine collapsed. She said it was unclear whether the collapse was caused by mining activity or seismic waves.
“All the miners were accounted for except these five miners. We are considering a few options for the rescue while keeping the safety of everyone in mind.”
She said the five miners had their safety packs with them.
– African News Agency (ANA)