At 3:39 today New Zealand time, the Pike River Mine rocked to another explosion. Although in comparison this one lasted only 20 seconds, it was not as severe as the others were. However, mine officials are treating this seriously. A plan to recover 29 bodies is now on hold.
Flags around New Zealand are now at half-mast as a country mourns those who perished. It usually takes something of this magnitude to bring a nation together and for churches to fill up. In Greymouth, which is the nearest town to Pike River, ministers have reported increased numbers in their congregations. People not affected by the disaster are coming to church to pray. They are simply concerned people praying for their neighbors.
Meantime Pike River Mine retains a tight grip on 29 bodies. Mine officials are adamant about bringing out their bodies so the families can have closure. Specialized machinery has been brought in that will allow authorities to use water vapor to expel the flammable gases.
Gary Knowles, the Police Superintendent who is in charge of the operation, said. “When we affect the rescue, they can be there. “The police focus is on getting the men back to their families and supporting them during this time.”
On Thursday, there will be a memorial service at Greymouth’s Otomo racecourse, 5,000 people will attend. Donations for families and workers are pouring in from all over New Zealand. Businesses and organisations have proved to be generous during this difficult time. A miner’s relief fund has also been set up. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 2793 Wellington, New Zealand.