The 29 trapped miners at New Zealand’s Pike River mine on the South Island have still not been found, and authorities are now using the term “recovery mission” rather than a “rescue mission”. This a grave turn of events for the miners who have now been trapped for 3 days after an explosion deep in the mine. Rescuers are yet to attempt a rescue mission due to the presence of dangerous gases still present after the disaster.
Currently, a small bore hole is being drilled to take air samples within the mine itself, where the miners may still be alive, to determine if it is safe to begin the rescue / recovery mission.
As happened after the recent Chilean mine disaster and rescue, questions are being raised as the safety standards in the New Zealand’s mining industry. However New Zealand Prime Minister John Keys commented: “Our understanding is that to this point these operations are of the highest safety standards and those that would be expected of any coal mine in the current environment.”
Once rescuers determine that it is safe to begin an attempt, they will enter the mine itself and begin the rescue / recovery mission. As the country awaits word, family and friends have gathered around the mine, praying and hoping all miners are returned safely to the surface.