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Tragedy in New Zealand Mine

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  • Tragedy in New Zealand Mine

    My thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the 29 miners. May those who were lost rest in peace.


    New Zealand Mourns Miners After Second Blast

    By JONATHAN HUTCHISON

    AUCKLAND, New Zealand — A second huge blast in a New Zealand coal mine would have killed any survivors of the initial explosion, the authorities said on Wednesday.

    The police informed the families of 29 miners in the Pike River mine who had not been heard from since Friday’s initial explosion that nobody could have survived the second blast, which happened Wednesday afternoon.

    Police Superintendent Gary Knowles told reporters that the emergency response had now shifted its focus to a recovery operation.

    “It is our belief that no one has survived. This is one of the most tragic things I’ve had to do as a police officer,” Mr. Knowles said. “I was at the mine myself when this actually occurred and the blast was horrific, just as severe as the first blast.”

    The cause of the second explosion was unclear, but the owner of the mine said on Wednesday that the company did not believe the rescue operation was to blame.

    “To the best of my knowledge, absolutely nothing that was being done up there has caused this,” said Peter Whittall, the chief executive officer of Pike River Coal Ltd. . “This has come from somewhere up in the mine. We weren’t doing anything in the mine other than in the fresh air and that wouldn’t have caused any explosion.”

    New Zealand’s prime minister, John Key, said his Cabinet would form a commission to determine the cause of the explosion.

    “Questions must now be asked and answered about how such a tragedy was able to occur and how we can prevent another happening in the future,” Mr. Key said.

    “New Zealand is a small country. A country where we are our brother’s keeper,” added Mr. Key, speaking at a news conference at Parliament on Wednesday evening. “To lose this many brothers at once strikes an agonizing blow. Today all New Zealanders grieve for these men.”

    Mr. Key said flags on government buildings would fly at half-staff on Thursday.

    Last Friday’s explosion that trapped the miners occurred at the Pike River mine, located near the town of Greymouth on the west coast of the country’s South Island.

    Rescuers earlier on Wednesday had finished boring a 530-foot long hole to the mine’s main tunnel. The step allowed authorities to test for dangerous gases. Authorities said preliminary tests showed the hole had high levels of carbon monoxide and methane and low levels of oxygen.

    A robot inserted into the mine discovered a miner’s hat, with headlamp still on. But officials said they believed the hat belonged to one of the two miners who escaped last week’s blast.

    Relatives of the miners gathered in Greymouth on Wednesday and were struggling to absorb the news of the second blast.

    Laurie Drew, the father of one of the miners, broke down as he said he still wanted to believe there were survivors.

    “I’m trying to be logical and analytical, but it’s hard,” Mr. Drew said. “And now it’s going to be harder, to explain it to my mother.”

    Mr. Drew said some family members reacted angrily when they were told about the second explosion.

    “People got up and started yelling abuse, saying ‘Well, you had your window of opportunity five days ago, why didn’t you take it?’”

  • #2
    Our thoughts and condolences go out to all those touched by this tragedy.

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    • #3
      Thank you Cheffie--I wondered how long it would be before anybody in the good ole U S of A might even realise those guys had been buried underground for six long days--guess if it don't happen in the states it just don't happen.
      "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
      Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

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      • #4
        changed my mind. post deleted.
        Last edited by cheffie; 11-25-2010, 08:30 PM.

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        • #5
          To quote my good friend Ian....
          "ake ake Kia Kaha"
          ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
          Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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          • #6
            A real quirk, in that a 3rd blast occurred as the fire/mine rescue/police etc gathered to observe a one minutes silence at the mine entrance--more or less to the minute that the first blast took place one week ago.
            "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
            Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

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