Second blast shatters hope of survival for 29 miners

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  • All 29 miners trapped in a New Zealand coal pit are thought to have perished in a second blast.

    A second explosion at a coalmine in New Zealand is thought to have killed the 29 miners trapped underground since the original blast last Friday.

    There has been no contact with the men, including 24 New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and a South African, since the disaster five days ago.

    UK Foreign Secretary said: ‘Many British citizens have made their home in New Zealand and the loss of Mr Roger, 40, Mr Campbell, 25, and their colleagues will have touched the hearts of many in the UK.’

    Police Supt Gary Knowles said there was no hope that anyone could have survived the massive underground blast at the Pike River mine on South Island, which occurred at 14.37 local time (1.37 GMT).

    ‘It is our belief that no one has survived and everyone will have perished,’ said Knowles. ‘I was at the mine myself when this actually occurred and the blast was horrific, just as severe as the first blast and we’re now moving in to recovery mode.’

    The chief executive of Pike River Coal, Peter Whittall, said they would make every effort to retrieve the bodies of the men aged between 17 and 62.

    District mayor Tony Kokshoorn said: ‘People shouted out in anger, they are sickened by the whole thing. A lot of them felt misled. It’s unbelievable. This is the West Coast’s darkest hour.’

    Prime Minister John Key said the loss of life was a national tragedy.


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