There has been a second explosion at the Pike River mine.
Superintendent Gary Knowles told the Herald the miners couldn’t have survived a blast of that magnitude, which occurred at 2.37pm.
Family members were seen crying as they left a police briefing a short time ago.
My heart goes out to the families.
Update: The EPMU’s press release says:-
The EPMU will now make the practical arrangements to establish a fund to assist the families of the men whose lives have been lost.
The EPMU is calling on the government to establish an independent inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the explosion, including a public hearing in front of a senior judge and leading technical experts.
The union will do everything possible to assist in any investigation.
This is the worst mining accident in New Zealand since 43 miners were killed in a mine fire in Huntly in 1914.
The EPMU is the largest private sector union in New Zealand, representing around 45,000 members across eleven industry sectors, including 1,200 in the mining sector.
I’ll link to it after it gets online somewhere (here). However it echos my opinion about an independent review.
A mining disaster of this type could just be plain bad luck, But it could be a systematic problem that needs to be looked at closely for future mining.
The number of mining inspectors has been run down over time so safety checks are not what they were. Gerry Brownlee has an current obsession with putting more mines into operation and has committed this government to do it. That makes the government and especially the Minister of Mines an inappropriate group to look for causes of this tragedy.
It seems appropriate to have an external independent evaluation for the worst mining disaster in nearly a century.