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“Spider-Man” assists the JEMS in their search for three of his friends trapped in an underground mine.
“Spider-Man” assists the JEMS in their search for three of his friends trapped in an underground mine.

Spider-Man to the rescue in deep mine

A mysterious, yet familiar masked man in blue and red spandex has swung into action to rescue his colleagues from an underground mine collapse in South Africa.

Spider-Man and his friends are safe and well - and in South Africa rescuing miners.

That’s miners - not minors - that Spider-Man is on the look out to save and he did so last week after receiving a call telling him that three illegal miners needed to be rescued.

Spider-Man isn’t the illegal miner’s real name. Like all good super heroes he has to hide his true identity. He wears a red Spider-Man mask.

The trapped miners were initially presumed dead by rescuers. The illegal miners had entered the abandoned Durban Deep mine near Roodepoort in South Africa on Saturday, 9 February and had collapsed after inhaling methane. The following Monday night, Spider-Man mobilised emergency services but they were unable to enter the mine without permission from the Department of Mineral Resources.

Knowing time was of the essence the super hero attempted his own rescue with a little assistance from a small cohort of other illegal miners. Spider-Man and his rescue team attempted to reach the men, who were near shaft 10, but were driven back by gas. “We tried to pull one of the guys out but the gas was too much, so we had to leave him,” Spider-Man explained. 

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS) personnel were unable to enter the abandoned mine until 4pm local time on Monday.

The gas had overcome the illegal miners on Saturday whilst they were working and had “simply fallen asleep”, a colleague said. “They began choking, then fell asleep, lying on their sides,” said one of the illegal miners, who did not want to give his name. Even though he had felt dizzy, this unnamed miner was able to escape.

Before any official rescue could begin, six members of the urban search and research unit were sent into the mine to ascertain the gas levels; they discovered concentrations of methane. The second stage of the operation was to send rescue teams down with stretchers. But emergency rescuers needed guides to show them where the men were located.

Spider-Man instantly volunteered. He took the lead after grabbing a headlamp and some spare batteries. When they drew close to the trapped men, the team could see the illegal miners’ headlamps shining in the dark. “One of the men raised his arm, and we knew he was alive,” said Spider-Man. The rescue team urgently sent for a breathing apparatus.

“We were all surprised. They checked their vitals and found one of them was breathing,” said JEMS spokeswoman Nana Radebe. The surviving miner was taken to nearby Leratong Hospital.

Rescuers later recovered the two dead miners, and Spider-Man was there to help guide them in.  

Sources: The Star (South Africa), IOL News

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Tuesday, 20 August, 2019 3:26pm
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