Rescue Attempt Stalled in New Zealand Mine Blast

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It's been a weekend of painful waiting for families of wokers trapped in a New Zealand mind since Friday. Now, rescuers must wait another day before officials will allow them into the mine because of fears about explosive gases.

The agony of waiting is taking its toll on the families of the 29 miners missing after an explosion at a New Zealand coal mine.

Rescuers are being held back by high levels of toxic gas.

There's been no contact with the missing men after Friday's suspected methane blast.

Lawrence Drew, whose 21-year-old son is among them, says he's still hoping for the best.

[Lawrence Drew, Father of Missing Miner]:
"We've got faith they are going to come out and they are safe. It's just how long it is going to take to find out for sure what's going on down there."

New Zealand's prime minister says it's too dangerous to send rescue teams straight in.

[John Key, New Zealand Prime Minister]:
"Because if they go in the risk is that by going into the mine they then destabilize the atmospheric environment and the introduction of more oxygen or different gasses as a result of their activity leads to a second explosion."

At a news briefing on Monday, Tasman district police chief Gary Knowles said authorities had to consider all outcomes.

[Gary Knowles, Local Police Commander]:
"We still remain optimistic, we're still keeping an open mind but we are planning for all outcomes and this also part of this process, we planning for the possible loss of life as a result of what's occurred underground and we're keeping an open mind and we are planning for that."

As police released the names of the trapped miners rescue officials said it would almost certainly be another day before teams would be allowed into the mine.