A New Zealand coal mine explosion occurred Friday afternoon. About 29 coal miners are believed to be trapped underground in a shallow mine shaft. Police reported that the electricity went out right before the explosion. Two mine workers who were near the surface of the mine walked away with minor injuries.
This coal mine explosion brings back eerie memories of the recent Chilean mine collapse, where 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days. These miners made history by being the only persons known to been trapped for so long and survive. The Chilean mine rescue was made difficult because the rescue team had to dig through 2,000 feet of solid rock to reach the trapped miners.
Unlike the Chilean coal miners, these miners shouldn’t expect to wait as long to see the light of day. Peter Whithall, the mining company’s chief executive, said, “We’re not a deep-shafted mine so men and rescue teams can get in and out quite effectively, and they’ll be able to explore the mine quite quickly.”
While officials are eager to rescue these miners, they must put asses the safety of all involved. “I’m not prepared to put people on the ground until we can prove its a safe environment.” said Gary Knowles, Superintendent of the Tasman District Police. Coal, a fossil fuel, is highly combustible. Coal is one of the largest sources of energy for many throughout the world. However, it poses a dangerous threat to miners since coal emits carbon monoxide. Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, miners may not even be aware that they are taking in this poisonous gas. The explosion could make it nearly impossible for proper ventilation, which could cause gas to build up in the mine.
“It’s a very high-quality coal but it’s gaseous — but they know that,” said Doug Truman, Greymouth district’s deputy mayor. Officials The coal miners will need to lean heavily on their safety training and equipment until they are rescued.
As of Sunday, officials still have not heard any signs of the miners. Family members of the New Zealand coal miners are becoming restless as each hour passes on. Rescue efforts continue to be delayed until Officials can can clearly identify the source of the gases. “Something is happening underground, but what it is we don’t know.” said Whithall. The whole world will once again watch moment by moment as another mining rescue is underway.
“They will work throughout the night and they’ll work until they can go right throughout the mine and determine the extent of the incident and the safety of our employees,” said Whithall.
33rd Miner Reaches the Surface in Chile.CBS/AP
Reuters. New Zealand Coal Mine Blast Traps 27.Nytimes
Weaver, Mathew. New Zealand mine explosion leaves dozens missing.Guardian
New Zealand miners still stuck.Youtube
An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) .EPA