FS police call on families to identify dead miners

The two Lesotho nationals died from gas inhalation at the Harmony Mine in Welkom on Friday.

FILE: A rescue worker stands next to the illegal mine shaft. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Police in the Free State say they are looking for the families of two illegal miners, who were found dead at the Harmony Mine in Welkom on Friday, to identify their bodies.

The two Lesotho nationals died from gas inhalation, while 22 others were arrested for allegedly being involved in illegal mining activities.

This also comes after three illegal miners were also found dead at the Langlaagte mine shaft, in south of Johannesburg, last week.

Authorities say the miners used a ventilation shaft to go underground in search of gold.

Free State police spokesperson Stephen Thakeng says investigators are working to track down the families of the deceased.

"We have not yet got hold of the next of kin, so we are awaiting our investigators to contact them and that's when their (the miners') names will be publicised."

Thakeng says three of arrested illegal miners are Zimbabwe nationals, four are from Lesotho and others are South Africans.

The men face charges of attempted theft, trespassing and illegal immigration.