5.3 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes South Africa; 1 Death Reported

Emergency workers were unable to save the man who died when a wall fell on him
Emergency workers were unable to save the man who died when a wall fell on him

An earthquake has struck South Africa, killing one person and injuring some gold miners south-west of Johannesburg.

The US Geological Survey said the 5.3 magnitude tremor was near Orkney, a centre of gold-mining operations.

One person died after a wall in Orkney collapsed but miners who were feared trapped in some mine shafts have been brought to the surface.

The earthquake was felt in neighbouring Botswana and Mozambique.

AngloGold Ashanti said 17 of its employees were injured at two of its mines in North West province following the earthquake, which hit at a depth of roughly 8km ( 4.9 miles)

Power, which was temporarily interrupted, had been mostly restored and engineers had begun clearing shafts, company spokesman Chris Nthite in a statement.

“Our priority is the safe passage of our employees from underground. Engineers are inspecting shaft infrastructure, and at those shafts where this work is complete, hoisting of people to surface has already begun.”

Meanwhile, emergency medical service ER24 said miners who were believed to have been trapped are safe.

“The miners working in various mines have been brought out,” their spokeswoman Luyanda Majija said.

The BBC’s Milton Nkosi in Johannesburg says the area around the city has a history of mild tremors largely because of the nearby gold mines, which are some of the deepest in the world.

However geologists describe this tremor as a significant event, he says.

It rattled windows in high rise buildings in Johannesburg.

Our reporter says South Africa’s largest earthquake to date was recorded with a magnitude of 6.3 in the Western Cape town of Tulbagh in 1969.


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