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South African coal mine death toll climbs to 12

AFP  |  Johannesburg 

Rescuers at a disused South African coal mine found seven more bodies on Thursday after five were retrieved last week following a gas explosion, a mine rescue official said.

At least 20 people last week went into the Gloria coal mine, located near the town of Middelburg in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, to allegedly steal copper cables.

"Today we identified the positions of another seven bodies underground," Michael Elliott, who is coordinating the rescue operations, told AFP.

"But we have not brought these seven people out" due to lack of ventilation and wet weather, he said.

Rainy weather made it difficult to erect fans to suck out dangerous levels of methane, he explained.

About half of South African coal mining is done underground with the rest produced by open-cast methods, according to government figures.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 15 2019. 00:15 IST