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Blog entry by peteg posted 11-19-2010 09:35 AM 4429 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am sitting here tonight digesting the news of a mine explosion back in my old home town on the West Coast of the South Island NZ, ( Pike River mine) I recall as very young coal miners son starting my apprentership as an Electrician in Dec 1959, the apprentership was 10,000 hrs and involved going underground every day to maintain and keep extending the undergraound reticulation as the mine expanded & conracted. When I left in 1965 there were hundreds of miles of underground tunneling (mostly closed of to save ventilation). I recall many of my own very close calls i n my time underground. That mine was the “Strongman” State mine, it suffered a massive explosion in 1967 and 19 miners were killed. Strongman Mine was a “gasseous” mine with Methane ever lurking about in a threating manner. (goolge STRONGMAN DISASTER) A lot of these were young school & football mates of mine. My Dad was underground that day & I remember the panic i n trying to find out what happened, fortunately Dad was OK.
This explosing 43 years latter makes it all seam like yesterday, I can recall every detail as I sit here waiting for the news to, God willing, advise they have all been found & are all well. I fear otherwise.
I appreciate that these types of disasters are happening world wide ever day, however when it is your own back yard it has a lot more impact especially a small village of about 900 people. Sorry about burdning LJ’s with this but I am rather upset and just needed to put something down on paper. Hope the good Lord has his hand out for these underground boys,

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

9 comments so far

View Dez's profile


1167 posts in 4409 days

#1 posted 11-19-2010 10:29 AM

I don’t think I could do that job, the thought gives me the heebie geebies! I hope some one is watching over them.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 3093 days

#2 posted 11-20-2010 04:13 AM

Thanks for sharing from your heart. It’s healthy to get it off your chest and more importantly out of your mind. It’s no burden if we all carry the load. “Bare ye one anothers burdens…”

Doug, Ohio

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View hairy's profile


2799 posts in 3864 days

#3 posted 11-20-2010 04:24 AM

My mothers father was an electrician in the coal mines. She told me that when she was a young girl in the 1920’s, he was carried home on a door. The doctor said he would be dead before morning. I have pictures of him holding my daughter.

Her brother worked in the mines. He got his neck broke, and lived and worked many years after.

It’s a thankless job. The only time most of us think of them is at times like this.

-- My reality check bounced...

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3155 days

#4 posted 11-20-2010 09:52 PM

Thanks Hairy, looks like you know a bit about the heartbeat of a coal miners life and his family.
We have just had the morning press conference on national TV, they are still unable to enter the mine and attempt any rescue operation. The familys & locals will be well aware of the eventual outcome, this is a very gasseous mine Methane, ethane and CO2, the gass levels are being monitored but no change as yet so everybody just sits & waits.
Thanks for your thoughts

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 3541 days

#5 posted 11-20-2010 10:22 PM

This is sad news, indeed. My thoughts are with the miners and their families.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4417 days

#6 posted 11-20-2010 10:40 PM

So sorry to hear about this, Pete. It is understandable you’re upset. I’ve no notion of mining, but can imagine the families’ anguish. Hoping for the best, and please keep us posted.


View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3352 days

#7 posted 11-20-2010 10:43 PM

Both of my grandpas were coal miners in southeastern Kentucky. One died long ago in a cave in. The slate roof gave way when dad was only 14 years old. The other lived to be 87 years old. As far as I am concerned, coal miners have cahonies as big as bowling balls. But they don’t see it that way. They say it’s just goin to work to do a job. HATS OFF to all these men, and a humble thank you. Good luck to your people Pete.

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3155 days

#8 posted 11-21-2010 10:06 PM

Randy, seems you are from a similar heritage as Hairy, Thank you Ladies fro your thoughts.
Monday morning and still no entry to the mine.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4417 days

#9 posted 11-22-2010 07:02 AM

CNN Breaking News on Twitterfeed: 12 of 29 miners lifted out of mine, all accounted for alive. See CNN for updates.

OH, sorry… apparently that is the Chinese mine collapse. Sorry for the misleading post.


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