Elevator plunge in South African platinum mine ends 11 lives

(MENAFN) In a devastating incident at a platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa, 11 workers lost their lives and 75 sustained injuries when an elevator suddenly plummeted approximately 200 meters (656 feet) to the surface. The accident occurred on Monday evening as the workers were concluding their shift. The injured individuals were promptly transported to hospitals for medical attention.

The mine operator, Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), declared the incident as "the darkest day in the history of Implats." Implats CEO Nico Muller issued a statement expressing deep sorrow over the tragic event and announced the commencement of an immediate investigation to determine the cause of the elevator's abrupt descent. As a precautionary measure, all mining operations at the site were suspended on Tuesday.

According to Implats spokesperson Johan Theron, all 86 mine workers affected by the incident were inside the elevator at the time of the plunge. Some of the injured workers suffered "serious compact fractures," indicating the severity of the impact. Theron mentioned that the estimation of the elevator dropping around 200 meters was preliminary, and the investigation would delve into the unusual circumstances surrounding the accident.

South Africa, renowned as the world's largest producer of platinum, now grapples with the aftermath of this tragic event. The country recorded 49 fatalities from mining accidents in 2022, reflecting a decline from the previous year's figure of 74. Over the past two decades, South Africa has witnessed a steady decrease in mining-related deaths, a positive trend from the nearly 300 fatalities reported in the year 2000, according to government statistics. As the investigation unfolds, the focus remains on understanding the factors that led to this unprecedented and tragic incident in the Rustenburg platinum mine.


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