Rescuers free 900 miners trapped underground after storm

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More than 950 miners who were trapped underground in a gold mine after a power failure in the Northern Free State in South Africa have all been rescued, the mine's owner said Friday.

This content is restricted to site members. Wellsted said miners had the option of walking 4km to an escape shaft that remained operational, but management decided against using this potentially risky route.

Zwane said the mine had taken a correct decision by not rescuing the workers through an alternative escape route because that route contained toxic gasses and "high methane levels".

Through a tremendous effort to install temporary power line pylons by both mine management and Eskom, power was successfully restored during the morning of 2 February 2018 and all employees were safely hoisted to surface.

The incident began at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday during the night shift, NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said by phone earlier.

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The miners were stranded at Sibanye-Stillwater's Beatrix gold mine on Thursday (AEDT) after a massive storm knocked out power.

Engineers were struggling to get emergency generators to operate and to get the lifts working again, he added. A spokesman for the company confirmed yesterday that the workers were safe and were being sent food and water.

"To move such a large group of people underground is hard and risky and as it turned out, this was the right decision", Welsted said.

In a statement, the Chamber congratulated the mine, rescue services, unions and all other parties who worked together to ensure the successful rescue of all the trapped miners.

South Africa possesses rich mineral reserves and has some of the world's deepest gold mines, but production has declined sharply in recent years due to depletion of reserves.