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27 miners missing after coal mine explosion in New Zealand

Bryan Alaspa's picture

Hours after a coal mine explosion authorities were still looking for 27 miners who were listed as missing. The coal mine is located in Atarau, which is on the west coast of New Zealand. Two other miners emerged covered in coal dust, but the rest are still missing.

After three hours had passed from the time of the explosion no fatalities had been reported, according to New Zealand officials. Rescuers had, so far, been hampered in trying to go down into the mine to attempt a rescue because they need to make sure the air is cleared and proper venting has dissipated gases that could cause further explosions.

Electrician finds injured man

The two miners were did emerge from beneath the earth were taken to local hospitals with nonlife-threatening injuries. Local media did attempt to interview to the two men before they were taken to the hospital. Both men were listed as “walking and talking.”

According to initial reports an electrician went down into the mine to work on a reported power outage. He, instead, found a driver that had been blown off of his loader 1,500 meters into the mine. It was then that a rescue team was formed and it was known that some kind of explosion had occurred.

Family and friends of the missing miners have now gathered at the site along with rescue teams from all over New Zealand. Communications with the men still underground had been terminated when the explosion occurred. Smoke lingered over the mouth of the mine as spectators gathered.

The entrance to the mine is 2.2 kilometers long and then branches out into various tunnels. The mine has two routes for anyone inside to use as an exit. This mine is not like the Chilean mine because it is very steep and the shaft runs horizontally rather than vertically into the ground.

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