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



All of them?

No Radman, not yet, but that's OK - its a work in progress. Dumbing down takes a little while.


Bammbam said -
"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."

Yes, BB that is 100% correct.

Like so many others, including Wishart, you forget about the few hundreds of a second when the explosion occurs.

So, seeing you have such vast knowledge of the situation - you have said yourself, you have many years mining experience - and of the science involved you could perhaps give us all a brief exposition on what happens, and the effects on the human body.

Information like the air temperature, the time for that atmosphere to cool, the effects of compression and decompression, the likelihood of injury resulting from both debris and bodily impact would all be greatly appreciated.

My uneducated guesses -

Temperature reached - in excess of 1000C for perhaps 0.5 sec.

Time to cool - depends upon decompression rate. Boyles Law and all that. Could be as long as 2 secs.

Effects of compression - broken eardrums, burst eyeballs, extensive internal bleeding, ruptured liver, ruptured spleen... extent dependant upon intensity of compression.

Effects of decompression - eyeballs lost, eardrums, collapsed lungs, gas oedemas... extent dependant upon intensity

Likelihood of injury from debris and bodily impact -


Effects - could very probably be fatal.

Then you can start considering CO and CO2 effects if you want...

That was the basis of my early assessment of the miners' chances.


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

I blame the gays too. And the Jews.


And still no one has gone in with a rebreather.
Are all the police really stupid?

Shane Ponting

I think they are all just getting on the piss at the rescue camp. The lead cop seriously looks like he's downed a few shots before every video appearance.

Shunda barunda

Ian, I am not sure that we are being told the gravity of the situation. A situation probably exists where the mines rescue believes the probability of survival is very low, the miners would have walked out if there are no cave ins. If there are cave ins then the time to clear them safely and get to the miners would take longer than they could survive on their own oxygen.
To be alive behind a cave in they would require fresh air, the chances of that appear slim.
Most locals here don't hold much hope.
I guess it is a case of risk management and whether it is rescue or recovery.
But if that is the case I think it is wrong for the police and mine management to suggest otherwise.
It is a very confusing situation, they either have it right or spectacularly wrong.
Personally I think the issue is around gas sampling, they really should have anticipated such an event and relied on something other than a blow up bloddy bag and helicopters that can't fly in the clouds. It is the West Coast after all, cloud on the Paparoa's is not that uncommon!!


Bamm Bamm and Ian need to get down there immediately. As Ian has said, you only need one person to go in and sort the whole lot out - but Bamm Bamm should make and excellent sidekick. I am sure you would both find negotiating the 2.2 km tunnel quite a gas.

Ian Wishart

Shunda, like yourself and Probligo I agree the situation looks incredibly bleak now (in hindsight) for the miners. But that doesn't change our screw-up response to emergencies.

When I was a crime reporter there was a standing inside joke - if you are in serious danger from an armed intruder, call the fire service and tell them your house is burning down, because when police find there's a gun involved they'll stay well away until you are dead and the gunman finally surrenders/kills themselves.

In the first couple of hours after the big bang, rescue teams could have entered because the methane build-up would have been exhausted.

Instead, Gary Plod and his mates blew their opportunity.

Shunda barunda

In the first couple of hours after the big bang, rescue teams could have entered because the methane build-up would have been exhausted.

While this seems logical it doesn't always work that way.
Ventilation can be destroyed, a fire can be ignited, and coal dust can cause a secondary explosion.
This is what happened a mere few km down the road at the Brunner mine disaster. After an initial methane blast there were a series of coal dust explosions that followed.
If the rescuers simply walked to pit bottom, turned around and walked out again it would take at least 4 hours,let alone allowing time for checking structural integrity on the way.
Not somewhere you want to be if the conditions aren't safe and it is logical to think they weren't.
The problem as I see it is the difficulty they are having in gaining an accurate idea of the gasses in the mine.
Why was there no existing bore hole where they are boring now? why did they have to rely on a helicopter with a blow up wine bladder that can't operate in cloud when other mines have tubing right to the office?
It is not wrong to get an idea of conditions before the rescue crew goes in, it could be wrong to take 6 days to bloody well do it.


Paulie says: "This is a single drive mine Ian"

Why is that, Paulie? Why is it not mandatory in NZ to have some emergency holes prepared long ago, instead of drilling them slowly after an accident?
There are enough damn holes drilled into the coal seam. Why not drill a few more upwards to the surface? Too expensive was it? More expensive than 29 lives?

Where is the "safe room"? There isn't one. Why not?
Where are the backup air and communications going down a separate hole from the main drive?
Is there a risk management scheme that allows for an explosion and denotes what equipment is needed inside the mine for survivors?

Where was the equipment to measure methane and CO levels and why didn't that warn the miners before the explosion? A long time ago they used to use a canary in a cage to test the air quality in mines. Has NZ not progressed from that?

Andrew  W

When I heard that the explosion had in fact originated from near where the miners were working I thought that meant that they probably were all killed by the explosion. But now that I've seen the diagram on how complex the mine is, not a simple gun barrel, and now that I know that the miners were not all working in the same area, I'd bet that some of them did survive the initial explosion.
Another point I'd make is that I've seen no evidence that the "explosion" was particularly violent (that it generated a strong supersonic shock wave) the gush of gas exiting the mine entrance took over 50 seconds to dissipate, as far as I know no one said there was a bang, so a rapid burn of gas rather than an explosion might be a better description of what occurred, remember the phone near where the miners were is still working, it wasn't blown to pieces.


The NZ Police are incompetent?

No, but they are a work in progress and you don't ferment a compost pile overnight.

Andrew  W

Some Australian mine rescue people are surprised the police are calling the shots, can't imagine why. As the police say, they've got all the experts they need to advice them. Mind you, on than basis I suppose I could be the right person to appoint as CEO of Fonterra, as long as I've got some one like Andrew Ferrier to advise me.


>>>And still no one has gone in with a rebreather.
Are all the police really stupid?

Posted by CM<<<

Um, pick a different name please.


The police are incompetent, along with some of the posters/commentors above.
It will come out that the NZ Police, OHS and the mine management have royally screwed this one.

It is safe to enter the mine with the gear, and it has been since day one. Do it. Don't wait like scared children.

It is time to remove some of the dead wood from NZ society. The mentally fickle, the stupid, and the corrupt.

Gary Knowles needs to be forcibly removed from his position, and allow someone else take his place.


OK Peter ... you are on!
Come up with the airfare and my travel costs, and I'm ready to go ASAP!

My offer still stands ... lets see the colour of your money?


>>>And still no one has gone in with a rebreather.
Are all the police really stupid?

Posted by CM<<<

Um, pick a different name please.

No you pick a different name. Why am I talking to myself?




>>>Dr Cliff, who has studied mining rescues over the past two decades, said the rescue mission had rightly taken a cautious approach as frustration grows among the families.

Rescue teams had been lost in Australia, the United States, China and South Africa as they had gone in to rescue people without considering the risks "and we can't afford to put those people's lives at risk as well."

A tunnel of gas, and an emission source was "a clear and present danger to any rescuer."

Families of those trapped had to understand the complexity of the situation, he told Radio New Zealand.

"If the ignition source is still present and the methane can build up again it will explode, again. I think there's been a very rapid response. They are progressing, they are being cautious, which is understandable, I can't criticise what they've been doing."

If gas built up, there could be another explosion. Depending on the speed of the buildup, and the heat source "it could be very quick, it could be a number of days".

Potentially the coal could smoulder for years, as it had in mines overseas.<<<


Well, putting in a robot with DC brushes on its motors, and an image intensifier tube running 17,000 to 35,000 Volts on the tube is not a good idea.

Most image intensifiers discharge with a spark ... whilst in normal operation.

Of course, if they knew what they were doing ... they wouldn't have people like me sitting on the side lines - would they?

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