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All trapped workers freed from mine

World in Brief / SOUTH AFRICA

October 05, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

The last of 3,200 miners trapped deep underground for more than a day emerged safely, delivering a happy ending but raising questions about the safety of South Africa's gold mines.

The final group of 45 workers walked out caked in dust but otherwise healthy a day and a half after the accident. Only one health problem was reported -- a worker who was treated for dehydration.

The workers at the Elandsrand Mine, one of the top producers in the world's leading gold-mining country, became trapped a mile underground Wednesday when pipes fell down an elevator shaft and damaged the steel framework and electrical cables.

Government officials said the mine would stay shut at least six weeks while the cause of the accident was investigated.

The national miners union accused managers of earning fortunes while compromising safety.

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