Engineering Expert On New Zealand Coal Mine Explosion

Miner portraitOf nine fatal coal mine explosions in New Zealand since 1879, Pike River is the first where rescuers failed to recover any bodies within 24 hours.  Mine engineering expert David Bell said most mines had their main fans at the top of ventilation shafts and local mining researcher Peter Ewen points to Pike River being the only mine where the main ventilation fan was underground.

Ewen says this compromise may have limited rescue options for the sake of ecology and efficiency.  “Some questions have got to be asked about the fan,” Mr Ewen said.  “The fan was 100m underground, and once the explosion happened, there was no way they were going to restore ventilation because they couldn’t get to it.”

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