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Body count of illegal miners up to 25 from 11 at Welkom mine

The bodies of 25 illegal miners have been retrieved from Harmony Gold’s Eland mine in Welkom, Free State police said on Wednesday.

The miners had forced their way into the St Helena shaft and there was an explosion, police spokesperson Major General Lerato Molale told News24.

Eleven bodies were retrieved on Monday, 13 on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.

“The rescue team travelled a distance of about 20 to 25km from the St Helena to the Elands shaft to get the bodies out of the mine.”

The bodies had already started to decompose. Some had name tags attached. The miners, aged between 30 and 35, were believed to be from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho.

Molale said 11 miners handed themselves to police. Some of them had been working underground since 2015.

He did not rule out the possibility of more bodies being found.


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