JOHANNESBURG: Eleven workers at a South African platinum mine were killed and dozens injured after an elevator bringing the workers back up to the surface malfunctioned, the mine’s operator said today.
Impala Platinum (Implats) said the “serious accident” happened late yesterday afternoon at its mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, as employees were leaving one of the shafts at the end of their shift.
“Our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating accident,” Implats’ chief executive officer Nico Muller, said in a statement.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our colleagues and are in the process of ensuring all next of kin have been contacted”.
The company said 75 workers were injured and were transferred to local hospitals and admitted for treatment.
Implats spokesman Johan Theron told AFP some were severely injured, mostly suffering from ankle and leg fractures, and others walked out with minor scratches.
The accident happened shortly before 5pm local time yesterday as the lift hoisting employees “unexpectedly started descending”, according to the company.
“Its rapid descent was stopped by the conveyance counterweight becoming trapped by the jack catches,” it said in a statement.