Efforts to rescue 29 trapped miners in New Zealand have suffered yet another set back after the robot sent into the mine short-circuited after getting wet.
It had been hoped the device would locate the men and transmit pictures back while assessing toxic levels of gas.
Relatives have now to face an extended agonising wait while more air quality tests are undertaken before rescuers are allowed in.
But as time passes hopes are fading of finding anyone alive.
Gary Knowles of the New Zealand Police explained:
“We’re planning for all possible outcomes. We continue to plan and we’ll keep planning. This is a very serious situation and the longer it goes on, hope fade and we have to be realistic.”
It has been four days now since the blast and there has been no contact with the men even though there is fresh air stored in the mine and enough food and water for several days. But a phone line deep inside the colliery has rung unanswered.