955 South African miners rescued after more than 24 hours underground

Miners who were trapped underground are transported to a safe holding area after being trapped underground at the Sibanye Stillwater's Beatrix mine, Welkom, South Africa, Feb. 2, 2018.

Nearly 1,000 miners who were trapped in a South African gold mine for more than 24 hours were rescued Friday.

The 955 men were underground at the Beatrix gold mine in the central Free State province,when a storm knocked out power Wednesday night.

They were eventually freed after electricity was restored to a lift on Friday.

The Sibanye-Stillwater company, which manages the mine, said the miners will undergo medical tests and counseling. It expects work to restart on Monday.

Praying members of the public kept vigil outside the mine while the workers were trapped. There were scenes of jubilation when they were finally freed, the BBC reported.

“It was stressful, there was not enough ventilation. Thankfully our management managed to send us food and water,” said miner Mike Khonto, according to the AFP news agency.

A parliamentary committee said it was “utterly unacceptable” that there was no backup plan, and called for calling for “drastic” action against Sibanye-Stillwater, AFP reported.

The National Union of Mineworkers urged miners to refuse to work in “dangerous conditions.”.

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“Major multinational corporations like Sibanye-Stillwater which should be industry leaders in creating a safety culture are doing far too little to prevent accidents,” the union said in a statement.

Five miners died in August after they were trapped underground when parts of the Kusasalethu gold mine near Johannesburg collapsed.

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