Survivor struggled to breathe after NZ coal blast

November 22, 2010 01:32

GREYMOUTH, New Zealand  — The explosion that left 29 miners missing in New Zealand resembled "a shotgun blast, but much, much louder and more powerful," said a coal miner who was smashed into the mine wall before collapsing amid the smoky, swirling gas and dust.

When he came to, Daniel Rockhouse, 24, dragged himself upright and staggered to a nearby compressed air line to breathe in fresh air and gain some strength.

"I got up and there was thick white smoke everywhere — worse than a fire. I knew straight away that it was carbon monoxide," Rockhouse, whose brother Ben remains underground, told the New Zealand Herald newspaper in its Monday edition.

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