WELKOM – The search for the bodies of more illegal miners is continuing at Harmony Gold’s Eland mine in Welkom, Free State, after a gas explosion on Thursday last week.
Major General Lerato Molale said on Thursday that police believed there were more miners underground.
"The 11 miners that were arrested on Wednesday told us that more illegal miners were trapped underground," Molale said.
The miners had forced their way into the St Helena shaft before the explosion. Eleven bodies were retrieved on Monday, 13 on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.
"The rescue team travelled a distance of about 20 km to 25 km from the St Helena to the Elands shaft to get the bodies out of the mine," said Molale.
The bodies had already started to decompose. Some had name tags attached.
The miners, aged between 30 and 35, were believed to be from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.
"All of the bodies recovered are those of illegal miners."
Molale said he was on his way to the mine.