The bodies of eight miners have been found after fire erupted at a South African gold mine, the government said on Thursday.

One of the 18 workers who had been trapped underground was still missing, the news agency Sapa quoted the Mineral Resources Ministry as saying.

Eight others were rescued on Wednesday, while one had managed to get out himself.

It was not clear what had caused the fire at a depth of 1.73 kilometres in the mine west of Johannesburg. The company Harmony Gold said it could have been started by seismic event that damaged electric cables.

The National Union of Metalworkers called for a probe into the accident. “We must ensure that we do all we can to get to the bottom of what caused this incident, in order to prevent similar occurrences in future,” Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said.

South Africa is the world’s fourth-biggest gold exporter.

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