The Pike River mine tragedy
At 3.44pm on Friday 19 November 2010 there was an underground explosion at the Pike River mine. Two men in the mine drift managed to escape. The twenty-nine men deeper in the mine are believed to have died immediately, or shortly afterwards.
There were three more explosions within the mine before it was sealed nine days later. There is currently no access to the mine. The remains of the twenty-nine men who lost their lives have not been recovered.
Royal Commission of Inquiry
A Royal Commission conducted an inquiry into what happened at Pike River Mine in 2012.
The Royal Commission found that a substantial volume of methane gas, which is found naturally in coal, accumulated within the explosive limits was the immediate cause of the first explosion. The source of the ignition of the initial explosion was not definitely determined, but was assessed to be located in the middle of the mine workings.
Read the Royal Commission’s report(external link).