Investigation launched after people perish in mine shaft

NELSPRUIT � Members of the South African Police Service in Blinkpan near Middelburg have opened an inquest docket after five bodies were retrieved from the Gloria mineshaft situated at Blinkpan. The sequence of events suggest that an unknown number of people trespassed into the mine between Sunday, 03 and Wednesday, 06 February 2019, as a result of that police were summoned to the scene where the necessary coordination was done.

It was during that process that two people were retrieved from inside the mine, yesterday, 06 January 2019, however, one passed on while the other was hospitalised in a serious but stable condition.

The area has since been declared a crime scene and cordoned off due to the volatility of the situation. All role-players are currently at the scene, including the Mine Rescue Services. This morning another four bodies were retrieved and, according to information from the community, there might be more people still trapped inside whether still alive or not, is unknown at this stage.

Mine officials indicated that retrieval efforts are currently being hampered by the fact that the mineshaft is not safe and there is insufficient ventilation but, will resume after the electricity supply to the shaft has been fixed, which currently has been discontinued as a result of excessive cable theft which the mine is experiencing.

Parallel to the inquest docket, a tempering with infrastructure investigation will be conducted pending statements from relevant persons.

The Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has strongly cautioned members of the community to steer away from illegal mining or entering into mine shafts without authority as that is not only illegal but dangerous too. He further said that a post mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death as part of the police investigation.

Source: South African Police Service