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Mine disaster Miners New Zealand

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Third explosion shakes New Zealand mine

Relatives of the miners wait to find out whether the rescue operations can go ahead. Reuters

A third explosion hit the mine in New Zealand where 29 men died, only minutes before mining staff and emergency staff held a minute’s silence in honour of the dead.

No one was injured in the third blast, the mine company’s chairman John Dow said.

According to New Zealand’s TVNZ, the mining staff which had gathered to commemorate their colleagues did not hear the blast which happened underground.

Twenty-nine men were trapped after a blast last week and are believed to have died. It was initially believed that the men trapped underground were alive, but hope faded when toxic fumes inside the mine made rescue operations impossible.

A second blast on Wednesday prompted authorities to say that no one could have possible survived the blast and abandon the rescue operations.

Dow says the third blast will not hamper operations to retrieve the bodies of the miners, 24 New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and one South African.