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Asia-Pacific

Outlook 'bleak' for 29 missing miners in New Zealand

media Relatives of miners trapped underground leave a progress briefing held … Reuters

New Zealand police have warned that the outlook is 'bleak' for 29 miners missing four days after a blast, as video footage revealed chilling images of a powerful underground explosion.

Frustrated relatives of the missing, who were shown the video before its release, expressed anger at stalled rescue efforts as a robot sent into the mine broke down and an exploratory bore-hole was slowed by hard rock.

The authorities say there are still high levels of explosive and poisonous gases in the mine, making it impossible to send in rescue teams.

The miners, 24 New Zealanders, two Britons, two Australians and a South African, have not been heard from since the explosion at the remote South Island colliery on Friday.

The security video shows stone dust being blasted for 52 seconds out of the shaft's entrance, which is some 2.5 kilometres from the explosion and where the missing men were located.

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