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Rescue operation in early stages. -

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Matthew Peddie discusses the latest from the Pike River mine.

Transcript

SCOTT BEVAN: For the latest on what's happening at the Pike River Mine I'm joined by Matthew Peddie
from Radio New Zealand.

Matthew, where exactly are you now and what's happening?

MATTHEW PEDDIE, RADIO NEW ZEALAND: Well Scott I'm actually at the entrance road to the mine, it's
the Logben Road. It's about 12km from the tiny township of Ikamatua, about 50km inland and
north-east, as you said, from Greymouth.

There's a police cordon set up here. There's not a lot of activity going on at the moment. All
there is sort of the blue and red flashing lights of the police vehicles.

About 11:30pm, a couple of cars drove through the cordon to join their fellow rescue workers on the
other side of the cordon, a couple of police vehicles, a search-and-rescue car and the energy and
resources minister, Gerry Brownlee, has also made his way to the mine to join Tony Kokshoorn the
mayor of the Grey district who has been there since the late afternoon.

But from what I understand, the rescue workers, including those teams of specialist mine rescue
personnel are waiting for an opportunity to go and see if they can go and help those stranded
miners and the contractors who, I gather, are some ways underground.

SCOTT BEVAN: So is it still at planning stage at this stage or is the actual operation underway?

MATTHEW PEDDIE: My understanding is that they have to wait until they get the all-clear that the
air quality inside the mine is OK for them to go in. There are concerns about the quality of the
air, the poisonous gas that might be in the mine, they basically have to wait until they can get in
there and see.

There has been a little bit of helicopter activity. I can hear occasionally a few helicopters
buzzing over the hills and the mine, from here, probably is a couple of kilometres away, sort of in
the bush-clad hills further back. But I have heard some helicopter activity. There are some, I
think, three helicopters from various parts of the South Island which converged on the mine.

So there is some activity going on but there's been no official word as to whether the rescue has
actually started yet.

SCOTT BEVAN: And Matthew it's the only a few weeks since the world watched the Chile mine rescue
operation. How much is that event investing a sense of hope in the workforce there and indeed in
the wider community?

MATTHEW PEDDIE: Well it's quite early into the operation yet, but as you would have heard from the
mayor of the Grey district, Tony Kokshoorn, he said that obviously the world saw that rescue
operation, they can sort of gather some hope from that.

Of course the people on the west coast are used to dealing with hardship and difficult conditions.
Mining's been an activity on the west coast for a long time. So they're well aware of the dangers
involved but there is of course the locals, the families, who have loved ones unaccounted for yet,
haven't given up hope by any means.

SCOTT BEVAN: Matthew Peddy from Radio New Zealand, thanks so much for your time.