Search for young boy to proceed on Wednesday until he’s found at disused mineshaft.
THE MOTHER of five-year-old Richard Thole‚ who fell down a 140-meter-deep mineshaft in Boksburg‚ will have to endure another night of uncertainty and anguish after rescue attempts were again called off on Tuesday afternoon.
A visibly emotional Thole walked away from the shaft with her head down. Officials said after assessing the shaft‚ they need heavy machinery to access it.
Community members began threatening protests after the crane and rescue operations began packing up to leave.
“It’s been three days and there is still nothing. That’s our child in there and these people need to do their jobs‚” said one community member.
Chauke said the child would be brought to the surface with the efforts of the mine rescuers as well as technical teams appointed to work through the night.
Disaster and emergency management services Williams Ntladi said the heavy machinery needed would work on excavating the shaft overnight and the rescue units would be continuing the operations in the morning.
“The camera sent down got stuck 120 meters down and could not go any further so the shaft needs to be shaved to make way for the rescue operation‚” said Ntladi.
“All the equipment not for tonight must move out to make way for the new equipment. We’ll work the whole night to clear the place so that it’s safe.”
Chauke said the mother had been taken for counseling.
The hole is said to have grown bigger due to rain and when asked why it was left unattended for weeks‚ Chauke said the area was a mining belt and the land was owned privately.
Speaking from her shack at the Jerusalem informal settlement earlier on Tuesday‚ Thole said‚ “I feel like I can go down that hole and dig up my child“.
She said her son had gone out to play with another five-year old when he fell into the shaft. She last saw him on Saturday.
“I can’t sleep at night just thinking about where my child is now. He is all alone in there‚” said Thole.
Hundreds of residents gathered at the old shaft‚ including illegal miners who volunteered to help in the search but were turned down by emergency services.
She added that he would often play outside‚ close to their home. But this was the first time her son had gone as far as the shaft‚ about 200 meters away.
“When his friend came to tell us we saw the shock on his face. His eyes were wide open and red‚” said Thole.
“I can’t cope because it’s hurting to think my child is dead. I just want his body so that we can bury him‚” she added.
The distraught mother of three said Richard was her only son and described him as an active and lovable boy.
“He always played around here and would often come home to check up on me and play with his sister‚” said Thole. Richard wanted to be a policeman when he grew up.
This article was sourced from www,Sowetolifemag.co.za