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New Zealand Miners Presumed Dead

New Zealand Miners Presumed Dead - All 29 miners trapped underground in a New Zealand mine are dead, the official in charge of a the rescue attempt said Wednesday.

Gary Knowles, superintendent of Tasman Police Command, announced the deaths to the families.
During the rescue attempt, air released from drilling into the mine contained high levels of carbon monoxide and methane but little oxygen, according to police officials.

Authorities said the two camera-bearing military robots sent into the mine had found a worker's helmet with its light still on, but no sign of life. The helmet, police said, was dropped by one of the two miners who escaped the original explosion.

One of the robots had broken down earlier Tuesday but was back online, said Peter Whittall, CEO of Pike River Coal, which owns the mine. Whittall said a third robot was on its way to the site.
One the units reached a "fresh air base" and found nobody there, he said.

The 29 men, ages 17 to 62, had been missing since Friday, when an explosion ripped through the Greymouth mine. Most of the miners are from New Zealand, but the group also includes Scotlanders and South Africans.

The missing men are believed to have been spread throughout the mine, with perhaps half trapped in one area.

New Zealand Miners Presumed Dead

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