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« Mine Blast: Cowardice in NZ Police | Main | RIP, men »


Andrew  W

They have been way to casual about the lives of those 29 miners


Wishart, who would be the first to start screaming "Police stupidity" when a rescue team of 10 men got killed by a second explosion?

I remember Aramoana well. As I recall, the one (and only) policeman within an hour of the settlement gave his life in trying to stop Gray. If "you were there" you should remember that as well if not better than I do.

You want the Police to put the lives of another 10 of their number on the line? For what? Personal bravery?

I am realistic about what is happening at Pike River. Regrettably the chances of those still in the mine are IMO extremely small. They would have been sitting in the arse-end of a cannon when someone lit the touchpowder. I agree with all of the assessment I have heard to date. Why risk a team of (guess) another 10 lives in a half-arsed publicity stunt just to keeps the likes of you happy?


Volunteer yourself as that one man.

Ian Wishart

You didn't read the post, did you Prob? I'm advocating sending one person in, not ten, and yes, I'd do it. They probably would want someone experienced in mining however.

I wasn't 'at' Aramoana, I was in the Auckland newsroom behind the scenes...and I have personally attended numerous police callouts where safe assembly points were fully staffed while civilians continued to die.

One person. Breathing apparatus, non-combustible and non-static clothing. The Americans seemed to be able to do it.


"I have personally attended numerous police callouts where safe assembly points were fully staffed while civilians continued to die."

Not surprised, Ian.W.

Can personally confirm many similar stories.

I.E: Burglars broke into a dairy armed with a hammer and a machete. Dairy owner and his family were hiding upstairs in the house above the dairy.

Anyway frontline police both armed with 9mm glochs just hid in the bushes around the corner of the dairy and just let the burgs walk away into the night. They were not challenged by the police and got away scottfree!

I sometimes wonder what would happen if NZ experienced its own 9/11 scenario. I don't think there would be as many survivors rescued from such a situation here as was the case in the USA.


What a beat up. I've heard nothing from overseas experts on the radio to say we have got it wrong.

Listen to the interview at 8:39 from this mornings Morning Report:

This expert is saying there is nothing much more that can be done. He is from this group:

Federal Mining Safety and Health Review Group.

To me, the real questions will arise in a Commission of Enquiry. It won't do anything for those underground now, but as the expert says, future mine design needs a re-think.

Also look at the West Virginia case you cite above and I quote:

' On April 6, 2010, at 2:00 a.m., high levels of methane and carbon monoxide were detected forcing the team of rescuers to higher ground, further delaying the search. '

These are real hazards, not imaginary.

Ian Wishart

Real hazards yes, but they had made significant progress and the delay was a matter of hours, not three or four days.


The probability of anyone surviving the explosion? MY ESTIMATE - less than 1%, probably closer to 0.2%. What is your estimate Wishart?

Probability of another explosion? MY ESTIMATE - I'd take 50/50 (as of last night) to start... Where is your estimate?

Did you read the description from the survivor in Grannie Herald this am? Oh, yeah, right. That was all a fiction, huh!! Made up to support the lack of action, huh!! Oh, and to sell the paper no doubt.

Yeah, right!

Get down there Wishart. Put YOUR life on the line. Prove you are braver than the police; or as is far more likely, prove that you are as stupid as they are sensible.

And they will not let you into the mine simply because Health and Safety Law makes the mine owners responsible for your life as soon as you step onto their territory. If anything happens, THEY end up in Court. Not you. And that will be part of the decision made by Police, mine management and all...


Any news from Bruce Willis and when he expects to get into Greymouth Ian? Do tell him there are 40 him waiting at the drive already. Ever worked with a Mines Rescue team yourself? Every one of them brave and highly trained, and when they go down the mine they WILL be putting their lives on the line even after it has been planned. And it’s their friends down there.

This is a single drive mine Ian, and walking into it is like walking into a gun barrel. If it blows again, there’s only one way for it to go. To compare it to completely different mine designs in USA is as silly as saying that all car accidents are the same. Fastest that firefighters have ever cut someone out of a car is 50 seconds… so that’s the time to beat in every situation from now on eh?

Try this example if you struggle to relate to the reality of it. The keyboard you’re in front of right now is PROBABLY pretty safe, but experts all over the world tell you that it is also highly possible that two of the keys are on a hair trigger, and if you happen to tap them you’ll trigger an explosion that will take out half the street. Just tap ‘OK’ if you get the point. Hey, even if it IS armed, there’s only a 1% chance that OK is one of the live keys.

You are not adding anything useful to the immediate debate, and you’re just arming equally ignorant people to ramp up their ranting. Your points are valid, and best raised in a week or so when the analysis starts (see you at the enquiry?) And don’t pretend that you’re adding pressure that might prod PC Plod out of Over-Caution Street. You’ve got about 50 hard-assed experts at the mine that will be doing that with vigour if that is all that is holding up the rescue.


I see a lot of idiots posting above.

It is a single inclined adit, but it is not a single mine drive.

As for the delay in getting in there, it truely is disgusting. The NZ Police should be hung up by piano wire for being the uneducated bafoons that they are.

Ian Wishart

Paulie...I'd lay bets that there are men in the mines rescue team who are as frustrated at the rulings from above as the rest of us are. I know for a fact there is no shortage of people who would volunteer for such a task.

The reality is that all this work carries a risk, and always has. But some things are also basic science. If you are wearing gear than cannot create static, or strike a spark on rock, then the probability of you causing an explosion is next to nil. Not nil, but pdc.

As you, myself and others have noted, it is possible no one is moving in the mine itself for very good reason, and as I said in the post above if that is the case then yes, proceed slowly. But I have not noticed the extreme - and typically PC NZ - levels of reticence in the above examples.

It all comes down to the actual concentrations of methane, coal gas or other combustibles, and the mine and police have so far not revealed the actual concentrations to the media.

Are we talking about 200 ppm? 500ppm? 2000ppm? Or just 100ppm?

Petroleum is highly combustible and every time we fill up on the forecourt there is a risk of explosion. Gary Knowles' insistence on "100% safety" is unrealistic, if he genuinely believes that.

In one of the mine examples above the levels were considered safe enough to recover bodies, but not safe enough to allow investigators in for another two months. That's a perfect example of relative risk against the activity being carried out.

If we are waiting for the mine to be safe enough for investigators that could take a long time.

Prob...if you knew more about me, you'd know I've never been afraid to stick my life on the line on occasions. Ever had a bank robber's blade waving three inches from your throat while you struggle to disarm the scumbag?

I appreciate your point, but don't assume I'm an armchair critic.


It is safe to enter with a re-breather.
You can tell that from what is venting out the top air shaft.

The NZ Police are incompetent.


Bamm Bamm - It is good to see you are just as well informed as Ian , as usual.

It is smart to stake out independent positions if you are outside mainstream media, but this seems right over the top to me. The police and mine management are taking the best advice and expediting the best support services - in fact people all round the Earth are making offers of help.

I really think they can take appropriate options. As I said, if there are unreasonable delays, then they would be attributable to the way the mine has been configured - but that battle will need to wait until another day.



I've worked in mining for over 25 years. I know the risks, and the dangers.

Now, when you have people more 'qualified' than myself - using that term loosely - saying that this is TOTALLY FUBAR then you had better listen to them - and me.

I'm more than happy to volunteer my services for free. Get me the airfare and a chopper - get me there with a rebreather - and I will be more than happy to go in with no charges. I don't see anyone contacting me to go in??!!

Till then, watch, learn, sit back, shut up, and listen to what the experts have to say.

You might have noticed that we are standing up and publically calling for heads?


Hi Bambam... yes I was simplifying... the point being it's a single 2km+ way in/out not u-shaped or whatever like many. The gun barrel analogy holds, as I expect you know.

Ian, you can't eliminate all ignition sources in the mine by wrapping yourself up in rubber. And the petrol station analogy could use a little work. Think that most intelligent people know that he does not mean '100%' literally... what did you expect him to say? 92.75%?

I did not mean to imply you were a coward. The Bruce Willis quip was meant to refer to sort of hero that it must have been depressing to find was one of your platoon in Vietnam or wherever. Gung ho.

It might be all about PC NZ to you but to some of us it's about people we know, both in the mine and on the rescue teams. Of course nothing is ever certain, but if the choice is between a couple of dozen experts on site and you and bambam... well. Bambam, yes you're right some experts say it's FUBAR but there are also HEAPS of them all round the world and at the top of the mines rescue field saying they are doing it right. So it's not the cut and dried situation you are making it out to be. Maybe hindsight will prove you both right... but who knows?


The gun barrel analogy doesn't hold, it is just totally WRONG to use it.

It shows lack of education and no knowledge of principles of basic science.


Bamm Bamm
I'm interested in that about the gun barrel. If there was another explosion deep in the mine, I imagine the expanding gasses would need to exit by the main tunnel and secondarily via the ventilation ducts. Are you saying there would not be a danger in the main tunnel?


There is no danger int he main tunnel, or the mine drives at the face, because as with all explosions, once they have burnt themselves out - that is it.

Didn't any of you make bombs or shoot rifles when you were at school????

We have have all sorts of safety masks and gear. Just think ofthe Army guys whole deal with Tabun, Sarin or VX? They have the proper gear.
We are talking about using re-breathers. It isn't rocket science.

Put someone in there in a re-breather, with a torch - pulling a fibre link with video feed, and sort this thing out now.

I'm more than happy to volunteer, as the environment is quite safe.

It is somewhat Ironic the the NZ School of Mines was booted out of Otago University, only to be eventually closed down by left wing hippy Greenies.

The same Greenies that have contributed to this disaster.

The sooner that NZ funds real Industry and Science, instead of Feminism, Gay and Liberal Womans studies - the better.

There are too few educated people in this country that know what they are doing.


The NZ Police are incompetent.

All of them?


How many cops do you know with Msc degrees in science or PhDs?

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