About 230 Illegal South African Miners Trapped, Official Says

About 230 illegal miners were trapped underground in an abandoned gold mine in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, the Emergency Rescue 24 service said.

“Old sealed shafts were reopened by the illegal miners,” Werner Vermaak, spokesman for the emergency services, said in a mobile phone interview today. “There are about 230 people who are at several levels 150 meters (492 feet) down.”

It wasn’t clear how the miners got trapped or if there were casualties, he said.

Their presence was discovered today by police who were patrolling in the area and heard screaming from the abandoned mine, he said. Several boulders were blocking the entrance to the shaft, he said.

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