All 29 trapped miners in New Zealand dead


GREYMOUTH: All 29 miners trapped underground in a New Zealand mine for five days are believed to be dead following a second explosion, police said on Wednesday, as the government vowed to investigate the disaster.
The miners were trapped in the 2.3 km main tunnel of the Pike River Coal mine last Friday night when methane gas caused a massive explosion in the mountain on New Zealand’s south island.
Two other miners narrowly escaped by running out of the mine. “Today all New Zealanders grieve for these men. We are a nation in mourning,” said Prime Minister John Key said in an address to the nation in which he announced an inquiry would be held into the disaster.
“New Zealand is a small country…where we are our brothers’ keepers. To lose so many brothers at once strikes an agonising blow.” Deadly toxic gas and fears of further explosions stopped rescuers entering the mine, despite desperate pleas by the miners’ relatives that rescue teams enter the mine to find their husbands and sons, aged between 17 and 62.
Rescuers used robots and electronic devices to explore for life in the mine, but there were no signs that any one had survived the initial blast. On Wednesday morning rescuers said there was little chance any of the miners were still alive, but continued to monitor toxic gas levels hoping the air would clear enough for rescue teams to enter the mine.
A few hours later, as a 16-man rescue team prepared to possibly enter the mine, a second massive explosion occurred. “It is our belief that no one has survived and everyone will have perished,” said police superintendent Gary Knowles.