All trapped miners rescued from South African gold mine
According to a report by CNN the final six miners trapped in an illegal mine in South Africa have been rescued and there were no longer any miners trapped in the mine as of Feb. 18.
Initial reports had the number of trapped miners as high as 200 with most refusing help for fear of arrest.
Authorities talked to the miners on Sunday and Monday to try to convince them to come up.
The six were the last to surface.
Initially ER24 emergency medical services spokesman Werner Vermaak said that a rockslide trapped the miners. But Govan Whittles, a reporter for South Africa Eyewitness News at the scene, said the miners told rescuers that a rival group dropped boulders down the shaft to trap them.
Police looking for illegal dumping heard the men crying for help, CNN reported.
Illegal mining has been an issue South Africa has been forced to deal with for some time. In a speech in September Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said Illegal mining "poses a danger not only to the miners themselves, but to the communities, as well as the economy and existing mines."
South Africa's Parliament has discussed legalizing the illegal mines to allow the miners to earn a living, but the cost of bringing the mines up to modern safety codes could be prohibitive.
After some miners surfaced, authorities said a total of 24 had been freed, according to rescuers from ER24 emergency medical service.