Three Workers Missing After South Africa Gold Mine Collapses

Three people are still missing after the collapse of a gold mine in eastern South Africa operated by Sydney-based Vantage Goldfields Ltd.

The employees were working on the surface when the disaster happened on Friday morning, Vantage Goldfields said in a statement. All 87 workers who had been trapped underground have been safely rescued, the company said.

The incident occurred at the Lily gold mine near Barberton, about 360 kilometers (224 miles) east of Johannesburg. The three missing employees worked in a lamp room, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union said in an e-mailed statement. Rescuers are continuing efforts to retrieve the remaining people, the AMCU said.

“It was a massive cave-in,” Jacques Ainslie, a spokesman for Hi-Tech Medical Service, said by phone. Three levels of the underground mine, which is about 450 meters (1,476 feet) deep collapsed, he said.

Map: Location of Vantage Goldfields mine accident in eastern South Africa
Map: Location of Vantage Goldfields mine accident in eastern South Africa

The disaster follows the death of four mineworkers at Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. on Jan. 22. The miners were overcome by fumes while trying to find their way to safety after a fire broke out at Impala’s number 12 shaft in Rustenburg, west of Johannesburg.

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