Greymouth, New Zealand: The bid to rescue 29 New Zealand coal miners trapped underground by a massive gas explosion ran into more problems as a mechanical robot broke down inside a tunnel and hard rock layers slowed progress on gas testing.
Meanwhile, Peter Whittall, CEO, Pike River outlined the location where authorities believe the 29 men are trapped within the mine’s tunnel network. He described the main tunnel leading to the right of the map as the “barrel of a gun”. The tunnel is about 2.5 kilometres in length.He, however, has not been able to confirm the exact location of the explosion.
Family members have expressed frustration with the pace of the response as officials acknowledge it may be too late to save the miners. Police said the miners, aged 17 to 62, are believed to be about 1.2 miles (two kilometers) down the tunnel. Each miner carried 30 minutes of oxygen, and more fresh air was stored in the mine, along with food and water that could allow them to survive for several days, officials say.
New Zealand’s mines are generally safe. A total of 181 people have been killed in the country’s mines in 114 years. The worst disaster was in March 1896, when 65 died in a gas explosion. Friday’s explosion occurred in the same coal seam.
Source: TOI & NZ Herald News