Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where nature may win

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  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Paul Williams,

    possibly this distress is getting the better of some commenters?

    That's charitable of you. I'd say that some commentators just don't quite get that real life isn't a Stallone/Willis movie, or even a reasonable facsimile of Backdraft. People die in real life, rather than getting to do a re-take.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    People die in real life, rather than getting to do a re-take.

    As an aside, I have died, I am still here.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the horrors
    involved in getting engineers to coordinate or
    communicate anything .

    They did a fairly reasonable job of putting men on the moon / building the railways / making an atomic bomb / etc.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Second robot arrives at West Coast mine site. Third one being sourced from WA, a 4th from USA.

    This story says that there's only one robot in the world specifically designed for mine collapse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Just thought I'd remind folks that essentially what the rescue team is looking at is a 2.5 km long pipe bomb! I'd put more exclamation points in there but it shouldn't be necessary. That is also the reason they won't allow anyone up at the mine head.

    There is indeed a significant chance that the methane/air/coal dust mix in the mine explodes.

    There is no scenario where it is acceptable to take a risk with such a large explosive situation. All joking aside, this isn't a situation for Hollywood theatrics. It is a situation for boring, careful, informed and sadly slow progress.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4435 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That's charitable of you. I'd say that some commentators just don't quite get that real life isn't a Stallone/Willis movie, or even a reasonable facsimile of Backdraft

    That's uncharitable. No one is seriously suggesting hero time. It is also worth discussing the risk/benefit analysis, it sheds light on why decisions are made the way they are. Of course it's wrong to say that there must be no risk at all. The rescuers aren't saying that either. Even if there was no methane build up, sending people into a mine that has exploded is risky and could kill people. But at some point a decision is made. Knowles said it himself, that if there was any evidence at all that the people are alive down there, that far more risky actions would rise in consideration.

    The robot that was sent was not a total failure. They discovered something very important, that there is significant amounts of water down there, possibly even a "waterfall". Of course it's a pity it cost the only robot they had to find that out, but it's added to the picture without any further human cost. Perhaps the whole place is flooded and the robot basically drowned? Mucking around waterproofing it would have only delayed this discovery.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10596 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to BenWilson,

    To be fair, I think Matthew may have been referring to the posts by those querying why the rescue team had not gone in already

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • TroyHoward,

    I've just got back home after spending the day in Greymouth. .....wow...very very tense situation in the town over there. I really feel for them.

    I spoke with lots of my customers and they all are sick of the media attention. Quite a few comments along the lines of :

    "...the Close Up guys would come over and raise their eyebrows in asking for a comment, we'd shake our heads and they'd back off, no words spoken. But the Yanks and Aussies would barge in with all guns blazing. Some of those pricks are gunna get smacked!...."

    Also EVERYONE in Greymouth is talking about the lax attitudes of Pike Co. They are not looking good.

    Not everyone down the mine were miners as well, some guys are just contractors with NO mining experience at all.


    I

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks for the report, Troy. Feel free to email me with any other observations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22695 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I hear what you are saying Hilary but notice you did not extend this cynicism to the left wing pollies ( or potential pollies in Andrew Little's case)
    who are turning up in some numbers
    And there is nothing wrong with that when you think of Labour's true roots
    I have people who are members of my wider family involved in this thing so it is personal
    Speaking of family are you related to Jean Stace?

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I thought Little did well, as did Key and Goff. The Police and the rescue team as a whole have also done well. I haven't been impressed with commentators such as Brian Edwards who know nothing about any of this but are convinced of the ineptitude of the those invloved and are so keen to volunteer the lives of the rescue workers on the basis ot their own ignorace.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sweet Jesus. 3 News' first report after the press conference was the estranged father of the 17 year-old lost in the mine -- following the appearance of his mother on Campbell Live last night.

    It was dominated by implied criticism of the mother -- not only from the dad, but his brother -- for letting his boy go down the mine.

    It just shouldn't have been on TV.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22695 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    According to Whittall and Knowles at today's media conferences, drilling (of ventilation shafts) was held up today by, amongst other things, problems with the motor. Also, they need to wait until the first shaft is completed before they can relocate the rig to the site of the proposed second new shaft.

    Are they saying that they have only one drill rig for this job, with only one motor for it?

    Why do they - after more than four days - still appear to not have all the equipment they need for all forseeable contingencies?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    No, it shouldn’t, Russell. This whole thing is too, too sad, and I know that the public has a right to be informed. But my gut tells me that if I were any of the families, I would just want to be left alone. To hope, to grieve, whatever it is they need to do at the moment.
    I would also add that I really don't know how useful it is for people to be adding to the families' frustrations by egging on the "why haven't they got down there yet" line of inquiry. Personally, I find myself wondering the same thing. The difference is, I just don't think that it's useful.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to 3410,

    Are they saying that they have only one drill rig for this job, with only one motor for it?

    Why do they – after more than four days – still appear to not have all the equipment they need for all forseeable contingencies?

    The terrain is difficult, to put it mildly. Even if they had a dozen rigs they would still have to extract the broken rig before place a new one. Given that it takes quite some time to place them, it presumably takes quite some time to extract them, too, and would take more time again to place a replacement.
    Similarly, even if they have a dozen replacement motors they still have to determine that it's going to take longer to repair than replace, remove the broken motor, and install the replacement motor.

    Get a grip. Things don't happen between ad breaks. No quantity of spares can prevent equipment failures, and no quantity of spares can magically repair/replace failed machinery.

    As for only having one rig, they're not cheap, simple machines. They're specialised and expensive. I know that in your magical world where repairs and replacements take place at the speed of light money also grows on trees and spare capital equipment is just littering the countryside ready for use once every few decades, but this is the real world.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I know that in your magical world where repairs and replacements take place at the speed of light money also grows on trees and spare capital equipment is just littering the countryside ready for use once every few decades, but this is the real world.

    Matthew, that seems unduly harsh. People are concerned, frustrated and worried. You might have a lot of knowledge and experience in the area, I don't, and the same question 3410 asked occurred to me.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I would also add that I really don’t know how useful it is for people to be adding to the families’ frustrations by egging on the “why haven’t they got down there yet” line of inquiry.

    I think if the mining rescue team - made up of miners - thought the risk was not that great then nothing would be able to hold them back. The Police are acting on advice from people who have conisderable experience and knowledge.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • vangam,

    I cant believe that the only option for the rescue services is to 'wait'. Dont mining authorities have plans in place precisely for these sort of events? Surely the build-up of toxic gases is not an unexpected eventuality? And yet one could be forgiven for thinking that this is the first time they have faced this problem. Over all the years that man has been mining has nobody figured out a solution to this problem? I am dumbfounded by the fact that there is no technological solution in the offing.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Leigh Kennaway,

    I'm surprised no-one has thought of calling International Rescue - I'm sure Thunderbird 2 has a mine rescue pod.

    Western Bays • Since Feb 2007 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I'm trying to work out if the flow indicator at the mine entrance indicating no flow just prior to the explosion reaching the entrance would be due just to the explosion or from the vetilation stopping working just prior to the explosion.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The terrain is difficult, to put it mildly.

    That was conveyed quite well by some pictures 3 News had of the rig. They're perched on the top of a ridge, kilometres into West Coast bush.

    I confess to no knowledge of how long it should take to drill through 250m of solid rock, but I can only imagine the location is a problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22695 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Paul, that it takes time to do these things has nothing to do with experience and everything to do with simple common sense. Mechanics don't fix your car by snapping their fingers. Repair or replace, it takes time. That the terrain is challenging is obvious to anyone who's paid a little attention to the aerial footage or the reporting. Drilling rigs are not something you carry about in a backpack - in this case it has to be moved in parts by helicopter. None of this is anything I've deduced because of my emergency services experience, it's just obvious to an observer who ignores the hysterical tone of the reporting and uses their eyes and brain.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    It just shouldn't have been on TV.

    W. T. F. Why doesn't John Campbell fly in and take a dump on that woman's face -- it would be more tasteful, and definitely kinder.

    I saw on Twitter that this is going to be on the Media7 agenda this week. Please, Russell, hold someone's feet to the fire for that display of Lawsian vileness.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke, in reply to Leigh Kennaway,

    Sadly Thunderbird 5 was a space station.

    Edit: Aah, I see you corrected it.

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Matthew, that seems unduly harsh. People are concerned, frustrated and worried.

    Well, yes. And as I've had occasion to snap at Brian Edwards, our frustration is soooo far from being pertinent it would be funny if the stakes weren't so high. Believe it or not, gratifying the media's voracious appetite for disaster porn is not the prime concern here.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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