More miners resurface in Benoni

Three of the illegal miners who have been underground for two days now have resurfaced.

Three of the illegal miners who have been underground for two days now have resurfaced. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Three of the illegal miners trapped in a Benoni mine, east of Johannesburg, have resurfaced after being underground for two nights.

An unknown number of people were trapped after a rival group tried to rob the miners of their gold yesterday and blockaded the entrance with large boulders.

Eleven miners were freed yesterday following hours of rescue operations in which officials had to drill through a concrete slab and remove rocks.

Last night operations to free the remaining miners were officially called off.

This morning emergency services are providing medical attention to the freed miners.

One of the men was sent back down the shaft to try to negotiate and convince the remaining miners to come back out, but to no avail so far.

It's understood one of the miners still underground is also injured, but refuses to come out as he fears being arrested.

The miners claim there are still about 300 people in various parts of the mine below the ground.

Although the negotiator has resurfaced, rescue workers are still trying to communicate with those underground through the shaft's small entrance.

It's believed the miners became trapped at Gold One's Kleinfontein Mine after a rival group robbed them of their gold on Saturday evening and dropped two boulders down a ventilation shaft, blocking the only exit.

This comes after police and emergency services abandoned their operation to rescue at least 19 illegal miners who are trapped underground this morning.