New fire rocks NZ coal mine

The Pike River coal mine has seen another setback as fires underground block the recovery of the 29 miners.

Police on site said that the fire was not caused by any mine gas but that polyurethane sealant foam had caught alight.

Deployment of the GAG jet was delayed after sealant foam within the mine caught fire.

According to police it self combusted, which is not unusual in instances where high levels of foam are used.

It was extinguished quickly; however workers are still waiting for it to cool before considering re-entering the mine to finish sealing it.

No one was reported as injured by the fire.

Workers are aiming to get the GAG jet back online today to starve the mine of oxygen so that the gas can not reignite.

However, Pike River chief executive Peter Whittall stated that even if the GAG is running today, it may still take weeks before the mine is safe enough for recovery teams to enter.

"It could take several weeks of monitoring, and maybe several applications of the GAG over time before we can even consider going into the mine," he told Radio New Zealand.


(Picture courtesy of Iain McGregor/The Press)

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