Australian PM extends condolences for New Zealand mine tragedy

16:53, November 24, 2010      

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday extended the nation's condolences to the families of the 29 miners killed in the New Zealand mine disaster.

Rescuers had struggled for almost six days to reach the men who were trapped on Friday after a blast at the Pike River Mine on New Zealand's South Island.

Authorities said the latest explosion, around 2:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, has left no hope for the men.

"This is tragic news. Twenty-nine families have been hoping, praying, waiting to hear good news and now they have heard the most terrible news," she told Sky News on Wednesday.

"Our hearts go out to them and on behalf of the Australian people I give the condolences of this nation."

Gillard said the New Zealand community would be grieving over this dreadful loss, and Australia will send the nation's best wishes, sympathy and support to the two Australian families now living with this dreadful and tragic news.

There were 24 New Zealanders, two Australians, two Britons and one South African among the 29 trapped miners.



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