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Rescuers work to free trapped South African gold miners

MINERS TRAPPED: Doornkop mine in South Africa (PA)

NINE GOLD miners in South Africa remain trapped underground as rescue workers attempt to free them.

The trapped men are still stuck at the Doornkop mine, located west of Johannesburg, after a fire broke out at the facility last night (Feb 4).

The blaze is believed to have started about 1,700m (5,600ft) underground, and rescue teams are still trying to establish the whereabouts of the trapped miners.

A spokesman for the mine owners Harmony Gold, James Duncan, told the BBC: “Efforts continue to establish the whereabouts of a further nine employees who are currently unaccounted for”.

There is no confirmation yet about how the fire began.

However, the country’s National Union of Mineworkers claimed it started because of collapsing rocks.

In a statement, the union said: “It... caused damage to ventilation pipes, electric cables and water pipes. The damage to electric cables triggered fire underground which is still burning”.

Eight miners have so far been safely removed from the affected area after they had reached an underground refuge bay where compressed oxygen and water are kept for emergencies of this type.

There are hopes that the missing miners have also reached refuge bays.

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