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News Release

MSHA News Release: [11/24/2010]
Contact Name: Amy Louviere
Phone Number: (202) 693-9423
Release Number: 10-1644-NAT

Statement by MSHA Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Main in response to New Zealand coal mine explosion

ARLINGTON, Va. — Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration, today released the following statement in response to two massive explosions that rocked the Pike River coal mine in New Zealand. Twenty-nine miners are believed to have been killed.

"Our deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the 29 miners who died at New Zealand's Pike River Mine. While our nations may be separated by thousands of miles, we are united in grief, given that a similar disaster befell 29 U.S. miners in April.

"The Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration has been providing technical assistance to New Zealand since last Sunday. A team of five top mine emergency experts from MSHA, along with one of the only robots in the world designed to travel in potentially explosive underground coal mine conditions, were en route to the mine site via Los Angeles when they learned of the second explosion.

"We are gratified that we were able to offer assistance to New Zealand during this extremely difficult time. While coal mining accidents seem to have dominated the headlines this year, we can be thankful that one recent event did not end in tragedy. Earlier this week, 29 miners in China were successfully rescued just one day after their mine flooded."