Rescuers Begin Drilling to Reach NZ Miners

Small test hole will take up to a day to complete
By Eiric Baardsen,  Newser User
Posted Nov 21, 2010 4:34 AM CST Posted Nov 21, 2010 4:34 AM CST
Promoted on Newser Nov 21, 2010 5:49 AM CST
Drilling Begins in Effort to Reach NZ Miners
The drilling rig arrives near the Pike River coal mine where 29 miners are trapped underground, Greymouth, New Zealand, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.   (AP)

Rescuers began drilling more than 48 hours after a methane explosion in a New Zealand mine trapped 29 workers. Officials said that gas levels in the mine were receding, but still fluctuating, causing uncertainty as to whether the tunnel is safe enough for a search and recovery operation. A rig will drill an initial 150-meter hole to test gas levels, the New Zealand Herald reports, which could take anywhere from 16 to 24 hours to complete.

The process won't be easy. As one official points out, "It's a difficult environment the drill is working in, it's high up on a mountain and it's drilling through hard rock." Once the hole is complete, rescuers will lower a camera to check on the condition of the mine, the same procedure used in the successful October Chilean mine rescue. Read the full article. (Read more New Zealand stories.)

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