Kiwi Army to send robot to see if trapped miners are alive

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Greymouth (New Zealand), Nov.22 (ANI): The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has decided to send in a robot into the Pike River Coal mine in a bid to rescue 29 trapped miners.

The specially adapted robot will be sent into the mine, which is full of toxic fumes, to see if there are any signs of the men, who have been entombed since Friday.

A camera will be attached to the robot, which will also detect levels of dangerous methane and carbon dioxide gases, which have flooded the colliery, stuff.co.nz reports.

The fumes are preventing rescue teams from entering.

The robot will be sent two kilometres deep into the horizontally dug mine to where the men are believed to be.

They haven't been heard of since a large explosion shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday.

Meanwhile, the drilling of a 162m-deep bore hole will also continue today. Once specialists reach the seam, at around 150m, they will switch to a diamond-tipped drill bit to prevent igniting sparks, which could set off another devastating explosion.

Once the drill breaks through into the mine, rescuers will look at lowering in another camera. It will also allow more samples of the deadly gases to be tested.

Air Force and defence helicopters are on standby with night vision equipment should the mission stretch into darkness.

A path is being cut out of the rugged mountainside to cut down on helicopter time bringing gas samples back and forth.

The specialists are also looking at using seismic gear to listen for any signs of life below ground. (ANI)

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