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200 illegal miners trapped in South Africa

JOHANNAESBURG: Rescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg, an emergency services spokesman said on Sunday.

Werner Vermaak of ER24 emergency services said rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

“They told us there are about 200 others trapped further below,” Vermaak said.

“It’s an abandoned mine shaft in the middle of the public veld (open fields),he added.

Heavy equipment has been brought in to try to remove the boulders obstructing the shaft.

No injuries or casualties had been reported so far, Vermaak said.

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