GREYMOUTH, New Zealand — Police say all 29 workers missing in a New Zealand coal mine are dead after a second explosion Wednesday that no one could have survived.
Explosive and poisonous gases had prevented rescuers from entering the mine to search for the missing men since an initial explosion on Friday at the Pike River Mine. But even if any had survived, the second blast would have killed them, police superintendent Gary Knowles said.
"Unfortunately I have to inform the public of New Zealand at 2:37 p.m. today there was another massive explosion underground and based on that explosion no one would have survived," said Knowles, in charge of the rescue operation. "The blast was prolific, just as severe as the first blast."
The second blast came after the first progress in days for the rescue attempt, when a drilling team broke a narrow shaft through to the section of the mine where the 29 workers were believed to have been working. And two robots had crawled their way into the tunnel, giving authorities their first view of the inside of the mine.