Pike River Mining Disaster – A Case Study
On the 19th of September 2010, what was to become known as the Pike River Mining Disaster began in the close proximity to the town of Greymouth. At an occupied mine of 31 miners and contractors, an initial explosion occurred in the West Coast Region of New Zealand’s South Island at approximately 3:44pm. Two were fortunate enough to walk away from the scene and were treated for moderate injuries at hospital, then later released the next day.
It was believed that the remaining 16 miners and 13 contractors were 1500m from the entrance of the mine. A second large explosion occurred on November 24thand all hope was lost that anybody remained alive. “Based on the expert evidence that I’ve been given and the men who were present, based on the rescue teams that were with me, it is our belief that no-one has survived. And everyone will have perished”, said Superintendent Gary Knowles, the man in charge of the attempted rescue mission. Two more explosions occurred in the mine on the 26th and the 28th of November, distinguishing any hope that may have remained for the people trapped. The Rescue Operation was led by the New Zealand Police and they were assisted by what was known as “Operation Pike” consisting of staff and management from Pike River Coal Ltd., experts in the field of Mine Rescue from both New Zealand and Australia, the Red Cross, The New Zealand Defence Force, and fire & ambulance services.
In the Red Cross Hall in Greymouth, a welfare service was initiated for the families of the trapped men. This was because the mine’s access road was closed off to everyone except for the emergency services. For several days there was a delay in rescue services entering the mine. Anger amongst the locals began because of what they considered to be undue cautiousness. The leader of Mines Rescue, Trevor Watts, explained that their caution was caused by the team’s belief that any rescuers who entered may have been injured...
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