Miners believed dead after second blast at New Zealand coal mineBy DPA, IANS
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
WELLINGTON - All 29 men trapped for six days following an explosion in a New Zealand coal mine were believed dead Wednesday after a second underground blast rocked the pit.
Police Chief Gary Knowles said nobody could have survived the second blast at the Pike River mine, on the west coast of the South Island.
“It is extremely unlikely that anyone survived,” mine chief executive Peter Whittall said.
Local mayor Tony Kokshoorn said a concentration of gases had caused an “enormous” explosion, far bigger than the blast Friday.
“This is the west coast’s darkest hour,” he said.
Hope for the trapped men - aged 17 to 62 - had been fading daily as a rescue party of 65 miners was unable to enter the mine because air samples showed the risk of another explosion from toxic gases.
Observers justified the caution of authorities and company officials, who insisted throughout that they would not allow rescuers to go into the mine until it was proved safe.
But Kokshoorn said families were angry at police, whom they blamed for not allowing a rescue attempt immediately after Friday’s explosion.