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Families suspend search for trapped Lily Mine workers

Efforts to rescue them at the time failed and the mine suspended recovery efforts, saying it didn't have enough money.

Sink hole at the Lily Mine in Barberton. Picture: Vantage Goldfield

JOHANNESBURG - Three families have suspended their efforts to reach the bodies of their lost loved ones trapped underground at the Lily Mine.

The three miners were trapped underground after a cave-in at the mine in 2016. Efforts to rescue them at the time failed and the mine suspended recovery efforts, saying it didn't have enough money.

Earlier this month, family members and co-workers started going underground in an operation to finally recover the bodies.

Family members of the deceased miners have been camping at the site for over 300 days in the hope that government would assist.

Following failed attempts to get them help, they decided to take it upon themselves to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones, saying they want to give them dignified burials.

Just over a week ago they began retrieval operations with very little equipment. On Saturday they found a big rock that is hampering their efforts to get to the trap bodies.

Harry Mazibuko, who spoke on behalf of the families, said: “We’re busy strategising on how to move them. We’re also considering using explosives to blast the rock, as it’s quite big.”

Mazibuko said the families want closure and remained hopeful.

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