Rescuers have reached the group of workers who were trapped while working illegally in a South African gold mine, but most of the miners are electing to stay underground for fear they will be arrested if they come out.

The workers were trapped in the mine shaft, located near Johannesburg, sometime yesterday.

Although initial reports suggested that more than 200 workers were trapped by a rockslide; according to CNN, there were only 30 people underground at the time and witnesses say a rival group intentionally blocked the shaft with rocks.

Authorities, on the lookout for illegal dumping in the area, apparently heard their cries for help.

Responders from the ER24 emergency medical service were able to rescue 11 workers, who were treated medically and then taken into custody by South African police.

The remaining miners now have to choose between dying in a mine or going to jail — although emergency crews have already departed, police and security officials from the mine company are guarding the entrance, ready to arrest whoever emerges.

[image via Twitter]