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Thu May 26 02:36:39 SAST 2016

Mother struggling to cope after being told daughter is one of trapped Lily miners

Lizeka Tandwa | 11 February, 2016 10:24
An ambulance leaves the Lily mine near Barberton
An ambulance leaves the Lily mine, which is owned by Vantage Goldfields, near Barberton, east of Johannesburg, February 5, 2016. Almost 90 miners were rescued and three are still missing after a cave-in at a gold mine.
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

The mother of one of the women trapped underground at Lily Mine in Mpumalanga has fallen ill due to stress, her husband Almond Mnisi said.

Mnisi said his wife had been struggling to cope since they received a call informing them their daughter Yvonne was trapped underground. He said his wife suffered from high blood pressure and it peaked on Wednesday.

“It’s not good. My wife is not coping at all. She is always in tears. This hurts me because there is nothing I can do. I keep telling her not to lose hope, our daughter will be found.”

Mnisi said most of the family had been sleeping in a tent near the mine since Friday.

“The family is here for support. This is helping to keep us calm under this storm,” he said.

Mine collapse

Mnisi and her colleagues, Pretty Mabuza and Solomon Nyarenda, were in a lamp room that was housed in a container, near the entrance to the mine, when a central pillar of ore, called a crown pillar, collapsed on Friday. The container was swallowed up in a sinkhole as big as a rugby field.

Seventy-six miners were rescued.

Mnisi said he was scared to face his two grandchildren, aged 9 and 4, should anything happen to their mother.

“I know she is alive. I have faith and we have prayed on it. I worry about her two sons. They do not know what is going on. I wouldn’t be able to face them if anything happened to my child. But I have faith,” he said.

Mnisi described 23-year-old Yvonne as a passionate woman who loved her job.

“She enjoys her job and she is a lovely girl. I am very proud of her. I just want her to come back to her sons and her mother. We need her.”

Support

He was impressed with the support the family had received from local residents, mine management, government and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

“I want to thank these people who are working hard for my baby. These people are working day and night and they tell us about every development,” he said.

Knocking was heard from inside the mine on Monday morning, giving rescuers hope that the three were still alive. They last heard signs of life at 13:00 on Tuesday.

Amcu’s Mpumalanga secretary John Sibiya said three rescue teams were operating in shifts around the clock to move tons of rock to find the three.

Source: News24

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