October 1993 saw one of the most successful mine rescue operations in South African mining history. 150 people were trapped 3 kilometres underground following the collapse of a Hydropower Column at Kloof Mine. With no way of getting them out but to bypass the rubble filled shaft, SkyJacks was approached by Kloof Gold Mine to supply and assist the rescue team to install a series of Sky Climber Alpha traction hoists to lift one man at a time through an elaborate pathway of small sub shafts. All 150 men were rescued over the next 7 days in what was described as a ‘Miracle’. This was the first time that SkyJacks was involved in an underground mine rescue operation.
There were 3 000 men below ground during that October 13 shift and all the mineworkers from level 39 were successfully extracted. 150 miners on levels 41 and 43 level were trapped at the bottom of the shaft which was filled with tons of hydropower piping, steel and debris. One by one, slowly and safely, every man was brought to the surface using Bosun’s chairs lifted by the electrical Sky Climber Alpha traction hoists. The entire rescue operation took 6 days.