South Africa: All 486 miners trapped by fire are found safe

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2015 2:54 PM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — All 486 miners trapped underground after a fire broke out at a South African goldmine have been found safe, the mine's spokeswoman said Sunday.

The 18 miners who were still missing shortly before 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) have been located, said Harmony Gold Mining Company spokeswoman, Charmane Russell. A rescue mission was underway to bring the remaining miners above ground, the mining company said in a statement.

The miners were trapped when a fire started 2,300 meters (about 7,545 feet) below the surface, said the mining company.

About 389 miners had already been brought safely to the surface and Harmony Gold said the fire has been contained.

South African President Jacob Zuma had urged the mine to do everything to ensure the safe rescue of all the miners.

"I urge all South Africans to keep the miners in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult period," said Zuma before the miners were found.