Greymouth, New Zealand, Nov 24 – It has been confirmed all 29 miners trapped in the Pike River mine near the town of Greymouth in New Zealand’s South Island are dead.
Fears of a second explosion in the volatile mine came true at 2:37pm NZDT this afternoon a second explosion rocked the mine where 29 men had been trapped since Friday’s explosion. News was broken just before 5pm of the explosion, which was immediately relayed on television news.
Head of the rescue mission, Superintendent Gary Knowles said he expected no survivors and that the disaster was one of the worst events he had ever had to deal with in his policing career.
“I was at the mine myself when the explosion occurred. The blast was horrific. Just as severe as the first blast – and we are now moving into a recovery mode.”
This comes after increasingly bad news throughout the day after it was announced that upon completion of the 162m bore hole into the mine hot gas had poured out. There is also believed to be a fire burning inside the mine. Robots sent into the mine captured footage of a mine helmet with the light still active after five days, leading to hopes the men may have survived.
Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn was present at the mine when it exploded.
“The whole thing just blew its top. This is gut-wrenching. It is our darkest hour.”
Premier Daniel Anderson has ordered all flags within Alston to be flown at half-mast and has announced a day of mourning to be held in memory of the 29 men who perished in the mine.
“This is a catastrophic day for New Zealand, there are no words that do justice to how awful this is. This is undoubtedly one of our blackest days. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greymouth and the families of all the men who were killed in this horrific tragedy.”