Trapped Miners in South Africa Found Dead

Jan. 18, 2000
Rescuers have recovered the remaining bodies of six miners who died in a tunnel collapse last week in Orkney, South Africa.

The search is over for the remaining miners who were buried under more than a mile of rock and dirt last week.

On Sunday, rescuers in Orkney, South Africa recovered the last of the bodies of six miners who died in a tunnel collapse -- a disaster from which nine other miners emerged alive.

Three bodies were pulled from the gold mine Saturday and another three Sunday, said Margaret Heylen, spokeswoman for African Rainbow Minerals mining company.

"All 15 miners have now been accounted for," Heylen said.

An earth tremor triggered the rockfall 1.3 miles below the surface on Monday, trapping the 15 miners. Four died instantly or minutes later. Another two were seriously hurt and succumbed to their injuries before they could be pulled out.

But, in a drama that captivated a nation built on mining, rescuers tunneled through tons of rock and emerged on Thursday with nine survivors. They were in good condition and were being held in a hospital for observation.

South Africa has some of the deepest and most dangerous mines in the world. In 1995, the Orkney mine was the scene of one of the South Africa's worst mining accidents. A mine train fell into an elevator shaft on a carriage full of men, crushing 104 to death.

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