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Pike River emergency presser - Peter Whittall

Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 5:41 p.m.

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By 3 News staff

Pike River CEO Peter Whittall has addressed reporters following the second explosion at the mine.

Mr Whittall is unable to say for sure how the explosion occurred but he did reveal that gas samples from the bore hole drilled today were showing 95 percent methane.

He said he was confident the explosion had not been caused by the actions of the rescue team.

"This has come from somewhere up in the mine, we weren't doing anything in the mine. Absolutely confident the measures taken up there by the rescue teams were absolutely correct. Nothing has been done to cause this. It is a natural eventuation that could have occurred on the 2nd day or the 3rd day."

This volume of gas was strong enough to cause a big explosion.

He said it is "extremely unlikely" that anyone survived the explosion.

Mr Whittall was at the mine when the explosion occurred.

"If the men are no longer alive we still want them back, the family will want them back. But we can't go into an unsafe mine. it's just as unsafe as it was two hours ago."

Mr Whittall then spoke about informing the families, He said telling the families was very hard - "they've looked to me for hope, they’ve looked at me to keep them informed".

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