177 mineworkers were killed at Kinross Mine in one of South Africa’s worst mine disasters since the 1940s on 16 September 1986.
An acetylene tank sparked flames that swept through the mining tunnel, burning plastic combined with polyurethane, which churned toxic fumes that filled the shafts, choking miners to death.
Besides the 177 mine workers killed, 235 were injured and one was reported missing.
The Kinross mine disaster is one of the worst gold mine disasters in South African history.
After the disaster, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) complained about low safety standards in the mines and organized a protest. On 1 October 1986, mine workers staged one of the largest protests in country. Workers stayed away from work and others held memorial services to mourn those who died in the mine accident.
Source: South African History Online