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Thursday, February 22, 2024
Feb. 22, 2024

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Elevator plummets at platinum mine in South Africa, killing 11 workers


JOHANNESBURG — An elevator suddenly dropped around 656 feet while carrying workers to the surface in a platinum mine in South Africa, killing 11 and injuring 75 — 14 of them critically, the mine operator said Tuesday.

It happened Monday at the end of the workers’ shift at a mine in the northern city of Rustenburg. All the injured workers were hospitalized.

Mine operator Impala Platinum Holdings CEO Nico Muller said in a statement it was “the darkest day in the history of Implats.” He said an investigation had begun into what caused the elevator to drop and the mine had suspended all operations on Tuesday.

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said there would be a government investigation into the tragedy. He visited the mine and was briefed, the government said.

All 86 workers killed or injured were in the elevator, Implats spokesperson Johan Theron said. Some of the injured had “serious compact fractures,” he said. Theron said the elevator dropped approximately 200 meters, though that was an early estimate. He called it a highly unusual accident.