Methane kills two illegal miners

Two illegal miners died, and one was seriously injured, after being overwhelmed by methane gas in an abandoned mine in Roodepoort, Johannesburg Emergency Services said on Tuesday.

Spokeswoman Nana Radebe said a man was rescued from the Durban Deep mine at 8pm on Monday.

"He was in a serious but stable condition and he was taken to hospital."

Around 2am on Tuesday, the body of a second man, who had succumbed to the poisonous gas, was brought to the surface.

Radebe said emergency services would try and recover the body of the third man on Tuesday. Emergency services were told the men fell unconscious on Saturday night, but this could not be confirmed.

Radebe said the recovery operation was exhausting for the teams, who had to wear special respiratory masks for protection from the methane.