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Situation "Bleak" For Miners

Situation "Bleak" For Miners

Police continue to plan for the rescue of the Pike River miners but say the likelihood is diminishing.

Superintendent Gary Knowles said tonight he had to be frank about the situation.

"The situation is bleak, it is grave and you have to understand that the risk posed by a secondary explosion is real and we are not prepared to put people underground till we can be assured of the safety of both the rescue crews and those people still trapped."

The families of the 29 missing miners were this morning shown footage from a Pike River Mine CCTV camera situated at the entrance to the mine which captured Friday's explosion.

"The families are extremely frustrated that we can't get underground and that frustration is shared by the rescue teams and mine rescue staff and we share their frustrations and feelings."

Mr Knowles said significant resources had been moved to the mine over the last 24 hours. "We have 65 mines rescue staff including 18 from New South Wales. We are currently trying to source a second drill rig so we can have multiple drilling. We have a second robot from the New Zealand Defence Force and we are sourcing intrinsically safe robots from Australia and US and having these moved to New Zealand."

Mr Knowles said he had been told that whatever equipment was needed for the operation, nationally and globally would be provided.

This commitment was echoed by Police Commissioner Howard Broad who was in Greymouth today with Police Minister Judith Collins.

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Mr Broad said all the resources of the New Zealand Police are available. "I have met with the Prime Minister and he has said the same thing to me. What we need is available and we are cheered by those levels of support."

Mr Broad said the rescue operation was extremely challenging but the New Zealand police are the search and rescue coordination experts. "Our role routinely and continually involves us in search and rescue operations and in each of those search and rescues, that we conduct, we take advice from experts."

Mr Broad said it was clear that there had been a major explosion in the mine. "That has left a situation in the mine that is extremely dangerous, too dangerous to allow people to go into the mine.

"As this continues, the situation for those who are below ground is bleak and gets bleaker by the hour, by the day. That is a most frustrating situation and our hearts go with those families who have loved ones who are in the mine."


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