Entries in Pike River Coal Processing Plant (3)


New Zealand Mourns for Miners Killed in Blast

Photo Courtesy - Martin Hunter/Getty Images(GREYMOUTH, New Zealand) -- New Zealand is holding a day of mourning Thursday for the 29 miners killed in an explosion last week.

Around the country, flags hung at half-staff, churchgoers gathered at special services and lawmakers broke into a solemn hymn in parliament.

For those like Neville Rockhouse, the father of one of the missing miners, it's tough.

"It's a bad time," he says.  "And it's going to be pretty rough for a while but the families, they stick together, they come through.  And we'll come through."

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has promised some answers, saying, "The government is absolutely committed to running a commission of inquiry that will leave no stone unturned to insure that they get the answers to why their men are not coming home."

Recovery teams say it could take some time to get all the bodies out, given the high levels of explosive gases still present in the tunnels.

All 29 miners were believed to be dead after a second explosion rocked the Pike River Coal Mine on Wednesday.  The initial blast occurred last Friday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


All 29 Miners Believed Dead After 2nd Blast Rocks New Zealand Mine

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATARAU, New Zealand) -- All 29 men trapped in a New Zealand coal mine are believed to be dead after a second explosion rocked the mine on Wednesday.

Speaking to New Zealand Media, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said officials said the blast "was an enormous explosion" and that they believe "there's no way anyone could have survived it."

The miners have been trapped at the Pike River mine in the country's western town of Atarau since the initial blast ripped through the mine on Friday.  Rescue efforts ensued, but high levels of toxic gas made it difficult for rescue teams to enter the mine.

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says, "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."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Dozens of Miners Unaccounted for After Mine Blast in New Zealand

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATARAU, New Zealand) -- An explosion at a coal mine near Greymouth, New Zealand on Friday has left several dozen miners unaccounted for.

The blast ripped through Pike River Coal Processing Plant in the country's western town of Atarau.  According to Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand's Energy and Resources Minister, two miners were able to walk out but about 27 miners are believed to still be inside the mine.

Brownlee says the two miners that made it safely out "were working much further forward in this mine than the rest of them."  The pair made it out unaided.  They are being treated at a nearby hospital.

A rescue team has assembled on site.  "We have a group known as the West Coast Mine Rescue Team who have assembled to assess what the requirements might be to go into the mine and effect a rescue," Brownlee says.  "At this state, we're trying to stay our of their way.  They are the experts."

Barbara Dunn, the communications manager for the Tasman district of New Zealand, says conditions on site might complicate the rescue effort.  "There's a lot of dust and possibly gas, so they need to be checking for that," she says.

Dunn says that power went out at the mine and when an electrician went in to see what happened, "he discovered a loader driver had been blown off his machine from an explosion."

Brownlee adds that "a little bit of smoke is leaking out of the breather shaft."

The cause of the blast has not yet been determined.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio