A five-year-old boy's body will not be retrieved from a mineshaft he fell into and died in because emergency services have called the operation "too dangerous."


Emergency services have informed the lad's devastated family that they will not be able to bury him because they cannot safely extract the little one’s body from the disused mineshaft which he fell into three weeks ago.


Five-year old Richard Thole will not be given a proper funeral following the accident because recovery missions have been permanently called off.


The tragic incident happened in city of Boksburg in Gauteng province, in north-eastern South Africa when Richard was playing with a friend and stumbled and fell into the 140-metre (459-foot) deep disused mine shaft.


The South African National Defence Force has now concluded that they will not be able to retrieve the corpse without putting other people's lives in danger.


The SANDF said in a report following investigations that more lives were likely to be lost should recovery operations continue.


A statement from the force said: "The report provided sufficient evidence that there is a possibility of losing more people in the attempt to recover the body‚ as going down further into the shaft poses a greater risk of the ground caving in."


SANDF said they have advised local researchers to look into new technologies to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.