At least 3 dead in the collapse of a South African mining dam

At least three people have been killed and dozens injured after a mining dam collapsed that caused flooding and washed away homes in central South Africa, officials said on Sunday.

Television footage shows a river of mud and water flowing from the mine into a nearby residential area, which has engulfed roads and washed away homes in Jagersfontein, a town about 100km southwest of Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State Province.

“A mining dam collapsed and swept away homes and cars,” Palesa Chubisi, a provincial government spokesperson, said in a statement. “Three bodies have since been found.”

Forty people, including a pregnant woman, were evacuated to local hospitals, four of them with broken limbs and the others with bruises and hypothermia, Chubisi added.

According to the national electricity company Eskom, Jagersfontein is also without electricity because one of its secondary power stations has been “engulfed in mud”.

“Due to the current situation in the Jagersfontein area and the inaccessibility to this station, it is impossible to estimate when supply will be restored or to determine the extent of the damage,” Eskom said in a statement.

Authorities were evacuating residents of affected areas, where many homes were swept away, to nearby farms, while search and rescue operations continued on Sunday.

The extent of the damage and the cause of the disaster remained to be clarified.

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