Rescue bid underway for boy (5) in Boksburg mineshaft

Hundreds of residents have gathered at the old shaft where rescuers are trying to find a safe way down.

Hundreds of residents in Jerusalem in Boksburg watch on as the rescue team prepares to enter the shaft to rescue a five-year-old boy. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN.

BOKSBURG - Emergency services are attempting to rescue a five-year-old boy who is believed to have fallen down a mineshaft at Jerusalem outside Boksburg.

Hundreds of residents have gathered at the old shaft where rescuers are trying to find a safe way down.

Residents earlier barricaded roads in the area with burning tires and trees, saying they had been asking for a long time for the shaft to be properly closed.

The mother of the five-year-old boy has been sitting inside one of the emergency services gazebo’s watching on as the rescue team prepares to go down the shaft.

She says she last saw her child on Saturday and has been searching since.

Ekurhuleni emergency services’ Vincent Khoza said: “We do not have [a] time [frame] in terms of how [long] the rescue will take.”

At the same time, a group of men believed to be illegal miners have been negotiating with emergency services in a bid to form part of the rescue team looking for the five-year-old boy.

The so-called zama zama’s claim that emergency services have not done enough and feel they could do a better job.

They have been trying to force their way down the abandoned mine shaft but are being held back by the Metro police.

Khoza says they’ve assessed the shaft and it not yet stable enough for anyone to go down due to wet ground.

“They’ve realised the ground is still unstable hence the crane is going to assist us to drop the camera down to make further assessment before we can send anyone in.”

He says they’ll try an alternative way to go down the shaft.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)