In a devastating incident at a giant platinum mine in South Africa, an elevator transporting workers to the surface lost control, resulting in the tragic loss of 11 lives and injuries to 75 individuals, mine operators announced on Tuesday.
Impala Platinum, the company overseeing the Rustenburg mine located northwest of Johannesburg, termed the incident a “devastating accident” that occurred on Monday. The grim event unfolded as over 80 employees were leaving a shaft at the conclusion of their shift.
The alarm was sounded shortly before 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) when the lift “unexpectedly started descending,” according to the mining company. The rapid descent was halted by the conveyance counterweight becoming ensnared by the jack catches, safety systems designed to prevent lifts and underground trains from rolling back in case of an accident.
Impala Platinum’s CEO, Nico Muller, expressed profound sorrow for the lives lost and the extensive impact on those affected by the tragic accident. In a statement, Muller conveyed, “Our hearts are heavy for the lives lost and the individuals affected by this devastating accident.”
The mining company is actively engaging with the families of the victims, ensuring that all next of kin have been contacted during this period of profound grief. The incident highlights the inherent risks associated with mining operations and underscores the critical importance of stringent safety measures to prevent such tragedies in the future. As investigations unfold, the mining community and the nation mourn the lives lost in this heart-wrenching event.
Tragedy Strikes South African Platinum Mine as Elevator Plunge Claims 11 Lives