New Zealand rescue planning for ‘possible loss of life’

Rescuers at a New Zealand mine where 29 men are missing after an explosion last week were preparing for “possible loss of life”, police said on Monday for the first time.

“We still remain optimistic, we’re still keeping an open mind but we are planning for all outcomes and this also includes … the possible loss of life as a result of what’s occurred,” police superintendent Gary Knowles said.

It was the rescue operation chief’s most downbeat assessment yet of the miners’ chances of survival following Friday’s blast at the Pike River coal mine in a remote area of New Zealand’s South Island.

Previously, Knowles has stressed that he was overseeing a search and rescue operation “with the emphasis on rescue”.

The has been no contact with the men since the explosion at the colliery, about 50 km from the town of Greymouth, and rescuers have been unable to enter the mine because of the danger from hazardous gases.

Pike River chief executive Peter Whittall said a bore hole being drilled to the mine shaft was expected to be completed on Monday night.

He said drilling, which began on Sunday, had reached a depth of 135 m and had about 25 m left to go.

The 15 cm hole will be used to take air samples and funnel laser-imaging equipment and video cameras down to give a clearer picture of the situation.

But Whittall also acknowledged hopes of finding any survivors were fading.

“The reality is, for the families now it’s becoming more and more grave with every hour that goes past,” he said. — Sapa-AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

South African Federation of Trade Unions membership numbers decline

Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the dwindling numbers are a result of the economic crisis and other factors

Route closure may be extended as talks between Western Cape...

The reopening of Route B97 without an agreement may result in a flood of illegal taxi operators and reignite taxi violence

Red tape is strangling small businesses

People in countries such as Brazil, India and China are two to three times more likely to be entrepreneurs than South Africans.

Can Panyaza Lesufi save the ANC in Gauteng come 2024?

With the Gauteng provincial conference around the corner, West Rand regional secretary Sanele Ngweventsha argues that Lesufi might give them the edge in 2024.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×