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NEW ZEALAND’S PIKE RIVER MINE EXPLODES AGAIN Families mourn the loss of 29 victims

By Phillipa McDonald MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Nov. 24, 2010) – New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says his country is in mourning after the deaths of 29 miners, following a second explosion at the Pike River facility.

The mine's management and rescue authorities say the trapped miners didn't stand a chance, and if they had survived they would have all been killed in the second explosion at the Pike River Mine.

It was bigger than Friday's explosion and lasted about 30 seconds.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio Australia reports air samples from a drilled hole confirmed that the mine contained high level of poisonous gas and low oxygen and it would have not been safe for rescuers to go underground.]

Prime Minister John Key says today all New Zealanders grieve for the men whose faces everyone now knows.

"This is a tragedy for the communities of Greymouth and its surrounding areas, he said. This loss will be felt in every home. They leave behind them a hollow space that will not be readily filled."

Mr. Key said to those who've lost a loved one, New Zealanders stand shoulder to shoulder.

The men had been trapped for five days without food or power and authorities previously said it was too dangerous to send rescue teams in to search for the men.

Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has expressed sympathy to the miners' families and in particular the relatives of the two Australian men.

"Of course two of these families are Australian the family of William Joynson and Josh Ufer, she said. To those families we especially say we want you to have our condolences we want you to understand that the nation is grieving with you at this dreadful and difficult time."

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