It is a community in mourning. Families were joined by friends and officials in the small New Zealand town of Greymouth to grieve for the 29 trapped miners now believed dead.
A second powerful blast below ground yesterday ended all hopes of mounting a rescue.
Since Friday’s initial explosion, relatives had hoped for some survivors.
New Zealand minister Gerry Brownlee said:
“You can never feel what they were going through. And it is obviously pretty devastating for them, it goes without saying, it leaves you shocked, I guess it shows you how fragile life really is.”
With mounting questions over how the disaster happened and how the rescue was handled, the government has promised a full inquiry. It is the country’s worst mining disaster in nearly 70 years.