Twenty Nine People Trapped Underground
By most accounts, it is not looking good. The 29 trapped at Pike River Mine will not be coming home any time soon. Christians we need to pray for these men.
At Pike River, there is a real threat of dangerous gases. If only these were toxic then breathing apparatus would suffice. They are not. The problem is they are explosive. One spark and there will surely be another explosion. The authorities are testing the air within the mine every half hour with a rescue team ready to go at a moments notice. So far, there has been no word from the 16 miners and 13 contractors.
A camera has been lowered down a hole drilled through the roof. This was able to transmit pictures of the fresh air base. As of yet no sign of life has been reported. Some minor damage has shown up on the screen showing that this safe area has received some damage. Yesterday morning a robot travelled 550m before coming to a stop due to water damage.
Another robot due in from America is of the type specially adapted for rescue work in coalmines. It is a Wolverine, stands at 1.5m tall, and weighs in at 544kg. It is also waterproof, is propelled by explosive-proof motors that drive rubber tracks similar to those on a tank.
Professor Robin Murphy from Texas A&M University said. “I only know of one robot in the world that is mine permissible – that has been modified for use in underground mine rescue and that is the Wolverine variant used by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).”
Another robot called the Inuktun mine crawler was available but cannot be used when methane is present.