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Fourth blast hits New Zealand mine

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Flowers are placed at the security gate of the Pike River Coal mine (AP)

A fourth explosion in nine days has ripped through a New Zealand coal mine, where volatile conditions have prevented recovery of 29 workers’ bodies.

The miners, including two Britons, were trapped by the first blast at the Pike River Coal mine on the South Island on November 19 and declared dead after a massive second blast five days later.

There were no injuries from the latest blast. People working near the mine entrance were moved away from the area for their safety.

Police superintendent Dave Cliff said “we are doing all we can” to recover the victims, but the new explosion showed the risks involved and the need to keep rescue workers safe.

The new blast was possibly sparked by methane gas leaking from coal seams and a smouldering fire underground.

Pete Rodger, 40, from Perthshire, and Malcolm Campbell, 25, from St Andrews, Fife, were among the missing miners.

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