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Trapped NZ miners remain unsafe for rescue

 

Blast fears stall New Zealand mine rescueCross-section of the Pike River mine

 

 

27 men trapped in a mine blast Friday are still uncontacted.  Drilling would also be unsafe as of this time for fear of gases present in the mine.  Heat is coming off underground.  Carbon dioxide, methane and other dangerous gases were still being generated.

Rescuers are set to carry out drilling operations this Sunday or until safety can be established both for the rescuers and the trapped miners.

Pike River Mine CEO Peter Whittall said "if we can make the hole big enough, we have some opportunities to put other devices into the mine."

"Supplies of water underground were there and temperature was about 25C," he said.  Unless the locaton is confirmed sending more supplies would not be possible, he added.

The two workers who emerged from the blast were treated for injuries.  One was disoriented and the other gave the details of the blast.

An electrician who went into the shaft to check on a power failure set off the alarm upon seeing the driver of a loader blown off his machine.

Experts said that explosions could have come from methane gas, coal dust, or a combination of the two.

New Zealand’s PM John Key said his government prioritizes taking the miners out of the mine.