Rescue crews wait to begin search for missing miners in New Zealand

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
Pike River Coal Mine near Atarau, New Zealand.

Pike River Coal Mine near Atarau, New Zealand.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Rescue crews are waiting outside a large coal mine in New Zealand for a go-ahead to start searching for 29 men missing after a powerful gas explosion.

Two dazed and slightly injured miners stumbled to the surface hours after the blast. A company official had said a total of five men made it out, based on those two miners’ account. But there’s been no sign of the other three men.

The company says it’s received no communication from any of the missing workers. The rescuers have been unable to enter the mine because of the risk of a buildup of explosive methane gas.

The coal company’s chairman says each of the miners should have been carrying 30 minutes of oxygen, which would allow them to reach oxygen stores in the mine. He says those stores would be enough to survive for “several days.”

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