JOHANNESBURG – South African police say several illegal miners are still believed to be holed up underground at an abandoned mine shaft near Johannesburg after 22 others had been rescued and arrested.
Police say the miners, who are all foreigners, were found Sunday when police patrolling the area heard screaming from the abandoned mine. According to rescue workers, the men were apparently trapped underground when a rival group threw boulders down the open mine shaft.
Emergency workers said Tuesday some of the miners who were working illegally were reluctant to come out of the shaft because they feared arrest.
Penalties for illegal mining include fines and prison time in some cases. Illegal mining is common in South Africa, a major producer of gold and platinum.