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8 trapped South African gold miners freed, 9 still missing

Published on Feb 5, 2014 6:33 PM

DOORNKOP, South Africa (REUTERS) - South African emergency workers rescued eight miners trapped a mile underground on Wednesday by a fire and rock-fall at Harmony Gold's Doornkop mine near Johannesburg, but nine other workers remained unaccounted for.

Rescue teams had to battle through smoke and debris at a depth of 1,700 metres to reach the eight, who had managed to flee to a refuge bay equipped with a telephone and other survival items.

"Efforts continue to establish the whereabouts of a further nine employees who are currently unaccounted for," the company said in a statement.

Chief executive Graham Briggs cancelled a presentation at a major industry conference in Cape Town to fly to Johannesburg to oversee the rescue effort at the mine, 30km west of Johannesburg. Normal mining operations were suspended.

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