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Body of fourth Tau Lekoa miner brought to surface

The last body was recovered on Sunday morning a day after the three were found on Saturday.

Tau Lekoa Mine in Orkney, North West, where four miners got trapped underground on 6 December 2019 after a tremor caused a rockfall. Picture: Edwin Ntshidi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The National Union for Mineworkers (NUM) has confirmed that the bodies of all four miners who were trapped at the Tau Lekoa Mine in the North West have been brought to surface.

Search and rescue teams have been hard at work since Friday to recover the bodies after they were trapped in a shift following a rockfall caused by a tremor.

The last body was recovered on Sunday morning a day after the three were found on Saturday.

LAST CONTACT: ‘WE ARE SUFFOCATING PLEASE, BRING US SOME OXYGEN’

A fifth miner was rescued with serious injuries after the accident on Friday, the NUM said in a statement on Saturday.

At the time the rescue team said they lost contact with the four underground miners at around 5:00 am (0300 GMT), sparking fears "they might not be in good health," said NUM president Joseph Montisetse.

"The last person we talked to said: 'We are suffocating please, bring us some oxygen'," he added.

Deadly accidents involving miners are common in South Africa, which has the deepest mines in the world.

Last year 81 people died in the country's mines, according to the department of mineral resources.

A miner at the Tau Lekoa Mine says it’s unfortunate that his co-workers have died.

“What happened to my co-workers is sad. I hope this does not leave us unemployed.”

On Saturday, another miner said while he hoped that the rescue operation would yield positive results, he doubted that his co-workers would come out alive.

“This has really frightened us as workers and we’re even worried we might lose our jobs,” he said.

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