At 17, Joseph Dunbar was the youngest miner at the Pike River Mine here in New Zealand, which has been shrouded in news of the mine explosion last week. They say it was his Dunbar's first day at work and he would have been underground about an hour when the first explosion hit.
Today at 2:37pm, NZ time a second explosion ripped through the mine in Greymouth. Police have said that any survivors from the first explosion would have surely perished. Mine officials have added that this is now an operation of recovery.
No one is sure when this will be as methane gas levels are still dangerously high. Next of kin are emotional at this time with accusations flying back and forth which is understandable given the circumstances.
We have known there was little hope but we have dared to seek for a positive outcome. There is nothing that none of us can do to make this any better. For those who have lost close family and friends, we can only offer our support and prayers. Greymouth is a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody else.
It has now been five days since the first explosion at Pike River Mine and a second defence robot went into it. The gas sample taken at that time was over the limit making any rescue attempt futile. If it had gone ahead another 16 lives would have been lost. The cause of the second explosion is unknown. When a hole drilled down into the ceiling of the mine broke through, a lot of heat came out. This would suggest there is still some burning within.
Peter Whittall the mine CEO described the tunnel into the mine. He said, “It’s the barrel of the gun. That’s very graphic and upsetting for (the families) but that’s the most simple term I can use.”