The plight of the 29 miners trapped in New Zealand’s Pike River coal mine has ended in tragedy, after a second blast ripped through the mine yesterday. Officials have now said that there is no hope that any miners survived the collapse.
The accident now becomes one of the worst mining tragedies in New Zealand’s history. Up unitl now, the mining industry in the country was considered relatively safe comparatively. Although mining in New Zealand is not as prevalent as it is in some other countries, the industry had still maintained a record of only 210 deaths in the nation’s 114 years of mining.
Initially, New Zealand officials and the miners’ families had held out hope that they could be rescued, much the same as the Chilean miners were last month. In that instance, even though the miners were trapped underground, the Chilean government was able to coordinate an international engineering marvel in order to get all 33 men out alive.
In the case of the New Zealand mining accident , the men initially became trapped after an explosion approximately 1 and ½ miles underground. The explosion was most likely due to toxic gases floating around in the mine shaft itself. The men had already been trapped for five days, without clues as to their survival, before the second explosion was reported yesterday, ending all hope for a positive outcome.
Rescuers had been unable for months to get to the Chilean miners to actually remove them from their mine, but they had been able to confirm that they were alive. They were also able to get some small amounts of supplies to the men to keep them that way. In the case of the New Zealand mine, rescuers could not enter the mine shaft because of the poisonous gasses and fumes, which made it impossible to confirm if any of the 29 men had survived the initial blast.
The recent success of the Chilean miners’ rescue was fresh in the minds of the friends and families of the New Zealand miners, who had held out hope over the last five days that perhaps their miners were still alive and could be rescued in much the same way. Unfortunately, yesterday’s events have now extinguished those hopes.
AOLNews.com, ” World Cheers for 33 Miners Freed in Chile .”
Joe Morgan and Ray Lilley, ” 29 Miners Dead After 2nd Blast at New Zealand Mine .” YahooNews.com