November, 2010

This is a repeating event

201019NovAll DayPike River Mine Explosion 2010Pike River Coal Pike River (NZ)Lessons:Audits & Reviews,Contractor Management,Emergency Preparedness,Operational ReadinessIndustry:MiningCountry:New ZealandLanguage:ENLoC:Deterioration Origin: New Zealand Government Incident:EXPLOSIONHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (On Site Fatalities)Effects:11 – 100 FatalitiesMaterial:Methane


On Friday 19 November 2010 at 3:45pm there was an underground explosion at the Pike River coal mine. Twenty-nine men lost their lives, and their bodies have not been recovered.

Two men survived the explosion. They were in the stone access tunnel (drift), a distance from the pit bottom area where the main workplaces were located. Although initially overcome, Daniel Rockhouse rescued himself and his colleague Russell Smith.

The New Zealand Police led the emergency response that involved emergency services, and mines rescue crews from New Zealand, New South Wales and Queensland. Despite strenuous efforts by everyone involved, a lack of information concerning the conditions underground prevented a rescue attempt.

A second explosion on Wednesday 24 November extinguished any hope of the mens survival. The emergency focus changed to recovery of the bodies.

Image Credit: AFP