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29 Dead In New Zealand Mine Disaster

An aerial view of the Pike River coal mine
All 29 miners missing in a New Zealand coal mine have died after a powerful second explosion tore through the pit.

Police today said there was no chance of finding survivors, in what would be the country's worst mining accident in nearly a century.

Prime Minister John Key said the second explosion at the Pike River mine "confirms our very worst fears."

"The 29 men, whose names and faces we've all come to know, will never walk amongst us again," Key said. "This is a national tragedy, a tragedy for the men's families, for their workmates and friends, for their community and our nation."

It is still not clear what caused the first explosion in the mine on New Zealand's South Island on November 19.

Potentially explosive methane gas in the mine had kept rescuers from entering the shaft.

compiled from agency reports