How tragic and sad. All 29 miners are believed dead.
such a sad reminder that the joyous rescue of the Chilean miners was very much a rarity.
Supt Knowles said the second blast occurred at about 1437 local time (0137 GMT) on Wednesday. “It was extremely severe,” he added. “I’ve had to break the news to the families and they’re extremely distraught.”
The chief executive of the South Island mine, Peter Whittal, said his company would make every effort to retrieve the bodies of the men.
“We want our boys back and we want to get them out,” he told reporters.
Family members wept, shouted and fell to the floor after hearing the news, Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn said.
“It’s unbelievable. This is the west coast’s darkest hour,” Mr Kokshoorn said. “It doesn’t get worse than this.”
Prime Minister John Key called the disaster at Pike River “a national tragedy”.
“New Zealand is a small country, a country where we are our brother’s keeper, so to lose this many brothers at once strikes an agonising blow.
“Today all New Zealanders grieve for these men… We are a nation in mourning.”