Miners rescued after fire
Jul 16, 2012 / 9:41 pm
Twenty-eight miners were rescued from a New Zealand gold mine Tuesday after a fire trapped the men underground for up to seven hours.
A truck engine caught fire early Tuesday at the Trio mine in the North Island town of Waihi. Mine officials said the ventilation system pumped smoke through the mine and it could be seen coming out the vent shaft.
Initially, 28 men were trapped about 150 metres (500 feet) underground in safety chambers. After more than 5 hours, 13 men taking refuge in two safety chambers were rescued. After seven hours, the remaining men in a third chamber were also rescued.
Mine spokesman Kit Wilson said one man was being checked by medical officials for suspected smoke inhalation but the rest are fine.
"Apparently they are all in good spirits and are raring to go home and have a sleep," he said.
The men were two hours from finishing a 10-hour overnight shift when the fire broke out.
Wilson said it's not yet clear what sparked the fire in the diesel engine. He said diesel vehicles regularly enter the mine.
The mine is owned by Denver-based Newmont, one of the world's largest gold producers. Newmont has 43,000 employees and contractors in a number of countries.
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