Flames gone at Pike River mine vent shaft

Flames gone at Pike River mine vent shaft

National News

Progress is being made on extinguishing the fire in the Pike River mine.

Flames which were coming from the vent shaft are no longer visible and temperatures on the concrete pad around the vent are reducing.

Gas level readings from the mine are also showing positive signs, with some areas showing inert readings.

Superintendent Gary Knowles says this morning's developments were encouraging:

"This is an important step in allowing us to get a metal cap on the vent shaft. Work is also continuing to cool even further the concrete pad around the vent.

"However the fact that flames have stopped coming from the vent doesn't mean the fire inside the mine is out yet.

"We will keep running the GAG machine. If we can get the cap on this will help the GAG in putting out the fire inside the mine.

Superintendent Knowles stressed that even with the fire out, entry to the mine was still a long way off.

"Safety remains paramount and we can't just put the fire out and rush in there.

"This is a team operation and we continuing to work closely with our partners including NZ Fire Service, Mines Rescue, NZ Defence, and the mine company.

"Even with all the expertise and resources available to us this is still an operation which will take weeks, if not months.

"I will also be meeting with the Chief Coroner in Greymouth later today to give him a full briefing on the operation so far."

The Chief Coroner will also be taken to the mine site and is due to meet the families tomorrow.

ENDS

Police Media liaison cellphone in Greymouth: 027 501 5742