November 22nd, 2010
04:51 PM ET

Setback reported in search for New Zealand miners

A robot dispatched to peer into the New Zealand coal mine where 29 miners are trapped has broken down inside the mine, and families of the men are "extremely frustrated," police said Tuesday morning.

The military-operated robot was expected to be a key part of the search for any survivors. But Gary Knowles, superintendent of the Tasman Police District, told reporters Tuesday morning that the robot's operators told him the probe had stopped operating.

No one has heard from the men - ages 17 to 62 - since an explosion inside the mine around 4 p.m. Friday.

Officials hope they are alive, though they do not know whether the men found a haven or whether parts or all of the mine collapsed.

The families of the missing men were "extremely frustrated" after a Tuesday morning briefing by authorities, Knowles said, "and I can understand their frustration as to the time it's taken to have a rescue."  But he said safety was his paramount concern in the rescue attempts.

A potentially explosive mix of gases inside the coal mine made it too risky for rescue workers to enter, officials said.

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Filed under: Mine accidents • New Zealand
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. MIKE

    fanta, the only thing worse than being educated beyond one's capacity for intelligence, is not being educated at all.

    November 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Palin Swallows

    Christ, not again.

    What kind of parent allows their 17 year old child to work in a mine?! I wouldn't send my dog into these hell holes, and I hate dogs!

    Giggity Goo!!!

    November 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Deb

    My guess is, the 17 year olds you are talking about probably don't even live at home and possibly have families to support. Some people in poor families simply cannot afford to stay at home and not work. The world is full of dangerous jobs. The people that work these jobs are who make the world work. Sit at a desk and turn the computer on and ask it to supply power to the electric plant that sends electricity to your house. Somebody in this world has to actually, physically work to keep things going.

    November 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |

    funny how no-one is talkinging about the rootcause and source of the explosion..

    i heard the had a all you can eat burrito feed right before the went down in the mine.

    November 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B. A.

    Any jokesters on here should rot in hell.

    That said I'm not particularly fond of the clueless arm chair mine rescue experts who appear to have all failed math, science and engineering.

    November 23, 2010 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Deb


    November 23, 2010 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Homer Simpson

    fanta= fool , what a moron! Go kill yourself please. The 17 year old was a problem child actually turning his life around, really saw mining as a career move. How many 17 year olds do that?

    November 23, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gabby

    What is wrong with you people? What if these coal miners families are reading this? The burrito comment is so uncalled for. This is serious people. These men risk their lives everyday to go underground to support their family. My heart breaks for the families of these miners. I know EXACTLY what they are going through, it was just 7 months ago that 29 men lost their lives in the UBB mine explosion here in WV, one of those men being my nephew, and its not something you get over very easy. I was with my family at the mines the night they told us there were no survivors it was the most traumatic thing I've ever experienced. Everytime I hear of a miner trapped those emotions come flooding back. The night they rescued the Chilian miners as they pulled one by one out I felt like I was back at UBB, the waiting was awful. When I heard of this explosion and the similarities of this one and UBB (2 walked away while 29 are missing)its heartwretching, I feel like I'm reliving it all again. My prayers go out to the families of these men, I honestly hope the outcome is better than it was here.

    November 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
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