Domenica, 07 Febbraio 2016 16:11

<div> | 'Knock, knock' heard from underneath Lily Mine</div>

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Komatipoort - There is hope that three miners trapped ina container that fell into the sink hole at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga, are stillalive, rescuers said on Monday.

The rescue team heard

knocking on Monday morning, MineRescue Services chief executive Christo de Klerk said.

"They heard knocking and decided to switch all themachines off to have absolute silence in the mine and knocked against somepiping. A little while later there was a response from deep inside themine," he said, a News24 Correspondent reported.

Three employees, Yvonne Mnisi, Pretty Mabuza and SolomonNyarenda, were in a lamp room that was housed in a container, near the entranceto the mine, when the central pillar of ore, called a crown pillar, collapsedon Friday. The container was swallowed up in a sink hole as big as a rugbyfield.

Seventy-six miners were rescued.

De Klerk told reporters on Sunday that the rescue packsin the lamp room each had 30 minutes of oxygen. The only water and foodavailable to the three was what they had taken with them.

The rescue effort was being made from inside the mine, onlevel 5. Debris was being loaded onto trucks and driven out.

“We are positive that we are getting close the containerwith the trapped workers and that it is only a matter of hours before we canget to them," he said.

Mike Begg, operations director at Vantage Goldfields,which owns the mine, said the families were told at 03:00 that there were signsof life from inside the container.

“We were all in tears. We are so thankful for thisdevelopment."

Begg said they were hopeful the container would belocated soon.

The lamp room was the last stop before miners entered themine.

"It’s the station where they charge their headlampsand would collect rescue packs. At the moment we do not have any communicationwith them," said Begg.

Vantage Goldfields chief executive Mike McChesney saidthey hoped for the best.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Lily andVantage Goldfields are with the three missing workers, their families and therescue teams. Our focus as management right now is on finding our colleagues.”

Photos taken by air and rescue units show how somecontainers that were used as offices nearly fell into the hole. Fifteenambulances were used during the operation.

A multi-denominational church service was held outsidethe mine's gate on Sunday morning to pray for the safe return of theworkers.

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