28 miners in New Zealand have been rescued after being trapped underground for seven hours when a blaze broke out in one of the tunnels they were working in.
The engine of a truck caught fire at 5am NZ time in the Waihi Trio mine south of Auckland, which is owned by Newmont Mining Corporation, the world's second-largest gold producer. The fire took hold close to the surface at what's called an 'intake', meaning that smoke was able to spread extremely quickly through the entire mine.
Glen Grindlay, General Manager of Newmont Mining Corp said: "We do not yet know what triggered the fire. It started on an underground truck, a Camacho 30 tonne truck. This will obviously be the focus of our investigation at a later stage. Our initial focus was ensuring the safety of all personnel on the mine and eliminating the fire hazard. All operations at the Trio mine and our other Waihi mining operations were stopped immediately"
As soon as everything stopped then the men – who were about to come off shift when the fire started – got themselves to refuge chambers stocked with water, air and power, while the rescue operation began.
It took seven hours to get them all out and the firm says no-one was hurt, except for one needing a check over after he breathed in smoke.
It's another headache and possibly a lawsuit for the Newmont Mining Corp which is facing big problems in Peru, we told about those last week where clashes between protestors against the mine and police got nasty, and five people died.