Death toll in Mpumalanga mine gas explosion rises to 6

Twenty-two men remain missing underground following a gas explosion on Wednesday.

FILE: A view from inside a mine. Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - The death toll at the Gloria Coal Mine in Mpumalanga has risen to six.

Twenty-two men remain missing underground following a gas explosion on Wednesday.

A suspected group of cable thieves went down the abandoned mine shaft on Sunday to steal copper cables.

Mike Elliott, who represents the business rescue practitioners, says that rescue teams can't access the point where it is estimated where the explosion took place.

Elliott says first teams need to restore power to ensure ventilation is restored and then remove the toxic gases from underground.

“The transformers that these guys have destroyed they’ve cut open the transformers and cut the copper out of them… They dug up the main cables that supply the fans, they’ve copped them up and ran away with them. They destroyed the substation’s switchgear that controls the fans.”

Police have opened an inquest docket.