Crews are working to free dozens of illegal miners who are trapped in an abandoned mine on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. (Feb. 16)
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Johannesburg - February 16, 2014
1. Wide workers and miners at scene of abandoned mine where dozens of illegal miners are trapped
2. Tight rescued miners walking away after being brought to surface
3. Tight workers and rescued miner at scene
4. Mid rescue workers at scene
5. Tight opening to abandoned mine
6. Wide rescue workers and ambulances at scene
At least eleven men were escorted to safety on Sunday, officials said, after debris trapped a group of miners who were working illegally in an abandoned mine in South Africa.
Some of the miners still below the surface in the gold mine shaft in Benoni, near Johannesburg appeared to be reluctant to emerge because of fears they would be arrested, according to an emergency responder speaking by telephone from the scene.
He said he did not know how many people were still in the mine.
The miners were believed to have been trapped since Saturday morning and police patrolling in the area heard their screams for help, the South African Press Association reported.
Rescue teams arriving at the scene were able to speak to about 30 miners near the top of the old shaft, whose entrance was covered by a large rock, the news agency said.
Those miners said as many as 200 others were trapped further down a steep tunnel at the mine on the outskirts of South Africa's biggest city.
Illegal mining is common in South Africa, a major producer of gold and platinum.
Workers brave unsafe conditions below ground amid reports of the involvement of organised crime and even clashes between rival groups seeking to extract precious metal from the shafts.