Within 48 hours of a gold mine fire in South Africa the death toll rose to 12.
CU Sign Bracken Mines Ltd., South Africa
SV Black miners grouped on surface
SV Machinery and miners into cage (4 shots)
CU Warning hooter sign
SV Mine official talking with miner
SV Miners leaving cage
SV INT Hospital ward and survivors (4 shots)
CU Reporter interviewing mine doctor J.B. Rossiter and Dr. rossiter talking to reporter (2 shots)
REPORTER: "What caused the death and illness?"
MINE DOCTOR J.B. ROSSITER: "It's asphyxia. These miners have drowned in their own fluid due to poisoning by nitrous fumes, which damaged the lungs, and the lungs have exuded fluid and they've drowned in their own fluids."
Mine officials said it would not take long for the mine to get back into full operation as no material damage was caused by the freak accident.
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Background: Within 48 hours of a gold mine fire in South Africa the death toll rose to 12. Monday's (15 November) disaster happened at Bracken and Leslie goldmines near Evander, about 70 miles (110 kms) east of Johannesburg.
SYNOPSIS: Mine officials say the incident occurred when a truck carrying gelignite caught fire after a wheel bearing broke down and the wheel rubbed against the wooden base of the truck. The gelignite did not explode, but ignited, burning furiously and giving off poisonous nitrous gas. The mine's ventilation system blew the fumes throughout the mine, killing nine miners who were close to the scene of the fire. Nearly eight hundred miners were affected by the fumes in the Bracken Mine and also in the near by Leslie mine, when seepage allowed the fumes into the ventilation system.
All 12 miners who died were from the Bracken mine. An Inspector of the Department of Mines has begun an inquiry into the circumstances of the disaster. Several hundred workers are still being treated. The chief medical officer of the Union Corporation, which owns the mines, was asked about the disaster.