Explosion Rocks New Zealand Mine Anew, Miners Feared Dead

Pike-River-Coal-MineA massive explosion rocked the Pike River Coal mine in New Zealand’s West Coast again on Wednesday, erasing hopes that the 29 miners trapped inside when the colliery first exploded last week are still alive.

Greymouth Police Superintendent Gary Knowles said no one may have survived the second explosion. “It is our belief that no one has survived and everyone will have perished. This is one of the most tragic things I have to do as a police officer,” Knowles said. Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the second explosion was likely caused by the build up of toxic gases inside the mine, where 29 miners have been trapped since November 19.

Presence of toxic gases had prevented rescuers from entering the mine. Officials said rescuers had been monitoring the amount of toxic gas inside the mine when the second explosion occurred. Families of the miners blamed officials for failing to save their loved ones in the past days, but rescuers said it would have been too dangerous for them to enter the mine.