Johannesburg – Eleven workers at a South African platinum mine were killed and dozens injured after an elevator bringing the workers back up to the surface malfunctioned, the mine’s operator said on Tuesday.
Impala Platinum said the “serious accident” happened on Monday in the late afternoon at its mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg, as employees were leaving one of the shafts at the end of their shift.
“Our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating accident,” Impala Platinum’s (Implats) CEO, Nico Muller, said in a statement.
11 people have died and several others seriously injured at the Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg. It’s reported that a cage fell down a shaft last night when a cable snapped. Mine Spokesperson Johan Theron explains what happened.
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) November 28, 2023
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our colleagues and are in the process of ensuring all next of kin have been contacted”.
The company said 75 workers were injured and were transferred to local hospitals and admitted for treatment.
Implats spokesperson Johan Theron told AFP some were severely injured, most suffered from ankle and leg fractures, and others walked out with minor scratches.
DEVELOPING STORY: 11 people died @ Impala Platinum Mine following last night’s tragic accident. A winder rope @ the 11th shaft suddenly broke and had more than 160 mine workers trapped underground. #76Injured #11Died #SANews #Rustenburg pic.twitter.com/TefolJ9Tn6
— Keiso Mohloboli (@kmohloboli) November 28, 2023
The accident happened shortly before 5pm (1500 GMT) on Monday as the lift hoisting employees “unexpectedly started descending”, according to the company.
“Its rapid descent was stopped by the conveyance counterweight becoming trapped by the jack catches,” it said in a statement.