167 miners trapped underground in South Africa

January 19th, 2009 - 4:29 am ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Jan 19 (DPA) A lightning strike on an electric transformer knocked out power to a goldmine, leaving 167 miners trapped 2,200 metres underground Sunday, a spokesman for the mine said.The miners in the Blyvooruitzicht goldmine near the village of Carletonville have been underground for 24 hours, the spokesman said, adding that power has been restored to the mine but lifts had first to be connected and tested.

Should rescue via the lifts not be practical, the miners would be brought to the surface via an air shaft, said the spokesman. He added that such an eventuality - which would take as long as eight hours - was not likely, as the miners had enough water and medical supplies to wait for any repairs to the lifts.

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