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New Zealand Mine Explosion

New Zealand Mine Explosion - Hopes of rescuing 29 miners, including two Britons, trapped a mile underground in New Zealand were receding today.

A dangerous mixture of volatile and poisonous gases has kept search teams from entering the remote Pike River coal mine, on a rugged mountainside near Atarau, following a ‘catastrophic’ explosion early on Friday.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said: ‘If it was a matter of doing more we would
all do more. Our rescuers are very brave but they could make the situation worse
by going into the mine and igniting another explosion.’

Local mayor Tony Kokshoorn added: ‘We know there’s a clock ticking. The families accept that search and rescue teams are doing a good job but I’m seeing despair on their faces. We are praying.’

Prince William and David Cameron have sent personal messages of support. And in an echo of the successful Chilean miners rescue last month, scores of relatives – in New Zealand and in Britain – are waiting anxiously for news.

The two Britons trapped are Malcolm Campbell and Pete Rodger. Mr Campbell, 25, is due to marry his fiancee Amanda Shields next month. Mr Campbell’s parents Malcolm, 50, and Jane, 45, who live in Fife, have not slept since they were told about the explosion at the mine where their son has worked for two years.

The Campbells – along with the miner’s grandmother and aunt – have booked plane tickets to New Zealand to see him marry receptionist Miss Shields, 23, in the nearby town of Greymouth on December 18. The couple plan to spend their honeymoon in Fiji.

Miss Shields has a four-year-old daughter, Sophie, from a previous relationship.

New Zealand Mine Explosion


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