A massive explosion deep inside a New Zealand coal mine Wednesday erased hopes of rescuing 29 miners caught underground by a similar blast five days ago. The prime minister declared it a national tragedy.
Even if any of the missing men had survived the initial explosion on Friday at the Pike River Mine, police said none of the men could have survived the second. Both blasts were believed caused by explosive, toxic gases swirling in the tunnels dug up to 1.5 miles into a mountain that had also prevented rescuers from entering the mine to search for the missing.
Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall said rescue teams were not doing anything that could have set it off, and that conditions inside the mine were such that it could have happened at any time.