As many as 200 miners were trapped in a gold mine in South Africa over the weekend. The miners were working illegally in an abandoned gold mine near Johannesburg. Some of the miners were rescued from the mine and brought to the surface already, where they were promptly arrested by authorities reports the NYT.
Other miners refused to come out of the mine when they learned others were being arrested according to emergency workers. Right now, it is unclear how many of those workers remain underground. The rescue operation was called off and the scene was turned over to police. Mine security officials are also overseeing the situation.
The minister for mineral resources has said previously that illegal mining is hazardous for the miners and local community. At least 82 miners died in an abandoned mine in a fire in 2009. All of those men were illegally mining.
Emergency crews rescued some of the workers from the mine Sunday after removing a large rock that was blocking the opening with a crane. The miners were then lifted out through a small square hole. The rescue workers sent down bottled water and were able to communicate with those still inside the mine.
The trapped miners were found by police officers patrolling the mine area when the police heard the cries for help. The miners were apparently trapped inside the mine since Saturday. There is no indication at this time of exactly how the authorities will get the miners out of the mine or if the mine will be sealed after all are evacuated.