23 Nov 2010

'Desperate' families not giving up hope

5:28 pm on 23 November 2010

Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says families of the trapped mine workers are getting desperate and frustrated, but are not giving up hope.

There has been no communication with the miners and contractors at the horizontal mine at Atarau since a methane gas explosion cut power and blew out ventilation fans at 3.45pm on Friday.

Rescue teams are still waiting to begin their search but officials say high levels of volatile toxic gases make it too dangerous still to enter the mine.

Mr Kokshoorn says the families have been hoping for a breakthrough each day and even though there are many factors working against the men's survival, the families are holding on to hope.

The father of one of the miners says relatives want to be at the site no matter what the outcome.

Laurie Drew, whose 21-year old son Zen Drew is in the mine, says there is plenty of room there and he cannot understand why it is been blocked off to families as well as the media.

The three-month pregnant partner of one of the miners is on an emotional rollercoaster, her family says.

Rachelle Weaver is carrying the child of 25-year-old Josh Ufer.

Ms Weaver's mother, Nancye Langley, says her daughter is coping with the situation as best she can.