South Africa copper mine fire leaves 5 miners dead.
Five miners have died after being trapped underground at the Phalaborwa Copper mine in Limpopo.
Initially, 6 workers were trapped and the whereabouts of the sixth worker was not immediately known, or whether he was still alive.
Palabora Copper confirmed on Sunday night that it experienced a fire at an underground conveyer belt during the early hours of Sunday morning.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has confirmed that one workers’ body has been brought to the surface while the bodies of four were still trapped underground.
Mine management and officials from the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) were investigating the cause of the incident.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) said in a statement on Sunday night the high temperatures, which rose to 64 to 67 degrees Celsius underground, made rescue efforts almost impossible.
“Breathing is difficult due to ventilation pipes being damaged by the flames, and communication lines have also been compromised,” said the union.
“Amcu sends heartfelt condolences to the loved ones and colleagues of the five fallen mineworkers. The AMCU leadership is currently at the mine, praying that the situation will change for the good and that the remaining worker can be evacuated alive.”