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New Zealand police release names of missing miners

world Updated: Nov 24, 2010 08:35 IST
AFP
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New Zealand police on Monday released the names of 29 men missing since an explosion tore through an a remote coal mine on Friday.

"We have... spoken to the families this morning, who have agreed that I will release the names," police commander police commander Gary Knowles told reporters before reading out the list of men trapped at the Pike River mine.

He added: "It's very important that we start putting names to our people, so people know who they are and they're not nameless faces."

The youngest of the miners, Joseph Dunbar, is aged 17. He was reportedly on his first underground shift at the mine when the blast occurred.

The oldest is Keith Valli, aged 62.

The list released by police confirmed there were two Britons, two Australians and a South African among the missing.

The Britons named were Malcolm Campbell, 43, and Peter Rodger, 40; the Australians were William Joynson, 49, and Joshua Ufer, 25,; and the sole South African was Jacobus Jonker, 47.

"That was a very difficult list of names for me to stand there and listen to," Pike River mine chief executive Peter Whittall said after the grim roll call of the missing was completed.

There has been no contact with the missing men since Friday and rescuers have been unable to try to reach them because conditions in the mine remain too dangerous.

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