SA man confirmed missing in New Zealand mine explosion

2010-11-20 13:00

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation confirmed that a South African is among those missing after an explosion in a New Zealand mine.

“We would like to confirm that one of the 29 miners still trapped underground is a South African national,” said the department spokesperson, Saul Molobi.

“Our High Commissioner in Wellington, Anthony Mongalo, is in consultation with the New Zealand authorities and they have just confirmed that preparations are under way to embark on a rescue mission.”

French news agency, AFP, reported earlier today that according to New Zealand police there were five foreign nationals, one of them a South African, among the 29 missing after a mine explosion.

Two Australians and two Britons were also missing.

“There has been no contact with the men since the explosion yesterday afternoon at the Pike River mine on the west coast of the South Island,” AFP reported.

The news agency said that although search teams were at the site since the blast, they were held back from entering the shaft because of concerns over possible poisonous gases in the mine.

Only two people escaped the blast.

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