Families Await Rescue of Trapped New Zealand Miners

Frustration is beginning to show among families of 29 miners trapped in a New Zealand coal mine since Friday, as rescue efforts are delayed due to fears that the facility contains toxic gases.

A parent of one of the miners said families are frustrated that the rescue efforts have been stalled for several days. “Everybody’s frustrated, everybody’s upset, everyone’s hurting,” said Laurie Drew, father of a 21-year-old miner.

Authorities said entering the mine at this time might be too dangerous for rescuers due to toxic gases that may have been trapped when the colliery exploded three days ago. Officials said rescue workers might be permitted to enter the mine by Tuesday.

On Monday, rescuers said they were boring a hole through the mine to collect gas samples. A military-operated robot capable of assessing the mine may also be used, said Tasman Police District superintendent Gary Knowles, who added that they are preparing for the possibility that the explosion may have killed some of the missing miners. “We still remain optimistic. We’re still keeping an open mind, but we are planning for all outcomes. … We’re planning for the possible loss of life as a result of what’s occurred underground,” he said.