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Lily Mine: Stress overcomes family member

A family member of one of the trapped miners has received treatment from paramedics for stress.

FILE: Friends, family and co-workers of the three trapped mineworkers at the Lily Mine in Barberton. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

BARBERTON - Management at the Lily Mine near Barberton have confirmed that one of the family members of a trapped miner has received treatment from paramedics for stress while waiting for news on the rescue operation.

Pretty Mazibuko, Solomon Nyerende and Yvonne Mnisi have been stuck underground in a metal container for more than seven days.

They were trapped when a pillar supporting the surface ground collapsed last week.

Since then their families have been waiting at the mine for rescue teams to find the container.

Mine manager Mike Begg says the stress is not unexpected.

"Seven days of grief, waiting around and anxiousness I'm sure for the families. Also, some of the families are not young."

WATCH: Keeping hope alive.

Mine managers say they're hopeful new specialised equipment will help them break through a rock weighing up to 30 tonnes that's preventing access to where three workers are trapped.

Begg says they believe the container holding the workers is stuck in loose sand behind a hanging rock.

He says once they crack through the rock, accessing the container will be much easier.

The rescue workers have been trying to reach the container for seven days and hopes of finding the trapped workers alive are fading.

CONDITIONS DETERIORATING

Mine management earlier said that conditions were deteriorating.

Begg said some members of the rescue team had been working for 24 hours without rest.

He said because the mine's ventilation system was offline, the conditions underground were difficult to work in.

"There are no fans, like we usually have underground. So we're sort of working on natural ventilation that runs through the mine."

LISTEN: The role of special equipment.

He added that the heavy machinery was also taking strain.

The rescue operation has now been underway for seven full days and the team has not yet removed the hard rock blocking access to the container.