19 November 2010
NZ South Island coal mine fatal explosions. Victims never exhumed.
Flames burst from a ventilation shaft at the Pike River mine (Iain McGregor/Getty Images)
The Pike River underground coal mine is high in the rugged Paparoa Range, on the West Coast of the South Island. The only access to the mine workings was through a 2.3-km-long tunnel that intersected with the Brunner coal seam.
At 3.45 p.m. on Friday 19 November 2010, the mine exploded. Twenty-nine men underground died immediately or shortly afterwards from the blast or because of the toxic atmosphere this generated. Two men in the tunnel, some distance from the mine workings, managed to escape. Over the next nine days the mine exploded three more times before it was sealed.
In 2014 the National-ledgovernment accepted a decision by Solid Energy, the new owners of the mine, that ‘potentially fatal risk factors’ made it too…
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