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Queen's sadness over NZ mine horror

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Peter Rodger is one of two Scottish men presumed dead in the mine blast (AP)

The Queen has spoken of her sadness as it emerged 29 miners, including two Britons, were presumed dead after two explosions in a New Zealand mine.

The Prince of Wales and Prince William also sent messages of condolence to New Zealand prime minister John Key who described his country as “a nation in mourning”.

Pete Rodger, 40, from Perthshire, and Malcolm Campbell, 25, from St Andrews, Fife, were among the men missing following Friday’s initial blast at the Pike River mine in Atarau on the country’s South Island.

Police said the miners would not have survived the “horrific” second explosion and rescue teams were “now in recovery mode”.

In a message sent to Mr Key, the Queen said: “My heart goes out to the families and friends of these 29 brave miners and to all who have been touched by this national disaster.

“I send my thanks and deep appreciation to everyone who has worked so hard to attempt a rescue and also to those who will have a part to play in the task of healing the pain that is being felt throughout New Zealand and around the world.

“At this sad and difficult time my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

Friends also paid tribute to the Scottish miners. John Daniel, 59, from Perth, Scotland, who lived next door to Mr Rodger before he moved to New Zealand, said: “It’s a terrible waste. We just can’t get his smiling face out of our minds.

“He was an excellent neighbour. He was working away a lot on the rigs and I was working away overseas at times and we used to look after each other’s houses.”

The other Briton, Malcolm Campbell, had worked at the mine for two years and was due to marry fiancee Amanda Shields, 23, on December 18.

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