29 people died at the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand after an underground explosion causes a fire to rage through the mine. The rescue efforts after the explosion were stalled due to the presence of inflammable and toxic gases. With a fourth explosion at the mine this week the coal fire was made visible above ground through a ventilation shaft.
Now efforts are being made at the Pike River Coal Mine to exhume the bodies. The Chief Executive Officer of Pike River Coal Peter Whittall said that the initial plan to use specialized machines from Australia to aid the body recovery would not have to be put on hold.
The rescue team is now debating using a GAG unit which will use water vapour and gases to purge the oxygen from the mine or if it would be better to seal off the mine as a temporary measure so that the fire would be starved for oxygen and die out.
The prime minister, John Key is going to propose a royal commission into the mining tragedy to the cabinet. This is the most powerful investigation available under New Zealand law. Unions have also called for the inquiry and want those related to the miners to be represented in the formal proceedings.