29 trapped Kiwi miners feared dead after second blast at mine

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GREYMOUTH - All 29 miners trapped in the Pike River Coal Mine are feared dead after a “horrific” second explosion this afternoon.

Police Superintendent Gary Knowles told the miners’ families of the development this afternoon.

3 News said Superintendent Knowles confirmed the explosion, saying the operation to locate the 29 miners has now moved into a recovery phase.

He said telling the families was the most tragic thing he has ever had to deal with in his life.

“Unfortunately, I have to inform the public of New Zealand that at 2.37 p.m. today there was another massive explosion underground and based on that explosion no one survived,” the Courier Mail quoted Knowles, as saying.

“We are now going into recovery mode,” he added.

“I was at the mine myself when this actually occurred and the blast was horrific, just as severe as the first blast and we’re currently now moving into recovery phase,” he said.

Supt Knowles would not speculate on what caused the blast nor would he say whether anyone else had been injured.

Grieving families left the afternoon briefing at Grey District Council and did not want to talk to the waiting media.

An ambulance arrived to offer assistance to the family members.

A formal media briefing will be given at 5.30 p.m. at the Greymouth police station. (ANI)

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