Special church services for Pike River miners

Special church services have been held in the town of 13,000 people, where coal is a mainstay of the local economy. School children have also put small yellow ribbons on lamp posts, and some of the shops have large messages of support in their windows.

Frustrations are running high as those trying to rescue the 29 trapped miners were frustrated by failed equipment and a seemingly slow response from rescue personnel.

“Everybody’s frustrated, everybody’s upset, everyone’s hurting,” said Laurie Drew, whose 21-year-old son, Zen, is among the trapped men. But he added: “We’ve got faith that they’re going to come out.”

Police head of the operation, Gary Knowles held out hope to families. “If the miners were in a part of the mine that was not in the direct blast zone they might still be alive.”

“Having said that you’ve got to plan for all contingencies.”

As fears grow that there is little chance of finding anyone alive, Police Commissioner, Howard Broad was more circumspect. “The situation gets bleaker by the hour, by the day.”

But Pike River CEO Peter Whittall said he still held out hope there were survivors in the mine.

“I think it’s becoming obvious there’s not 29 guys sitting together waiting to be rescued,” Mr Whittall said.

“How many of them there are I don’t know. But those are the ones we need to rescue, and those are the ones I’m waiting to see.”

Mr Whittall revealed that a camera had been lowered down a slimline shaft into a fresh-air area, one normally used by miners in an emergency. The images displayed only minor damage and no evidence that a miner had been there.



Sydney Morning Herald

New Zealand Herald

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News category: New Zealand.

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