Search continues for three missing in South Africa mine collapse

Rescue vehicles stand by at the scene of the Lily mine collapse near Barberton

Rescue teams have removed 3,500 tons of debris in the search for three people still trapped underground after a mine they were working in collapsed in South Africa, a mine manager said.

General manager of the Makonjwaan Lily gold mine Mike Begg said the rescuers are trying to recover a mobile office container that sunk when the mine collapsed.

The mine in eastern Mpumalanga province collapsed on Friday after an underground pillar caved in, creating a sinkhole that swallowed the container. Two women and a man are believed to have been in the mobile office at the time.

Families of the missing workers are holding prayer services throughout the search.

Themba Mnisi, whose daughter is trapped in the container, said he remained hopeful.

All 87 miners who were underground during the collapse were rescued.