WV Offers assistance to New Zealand
WEST VIRGINIA OFFICIALS OFFER ASSISTANCE
TOWARD TRAPPED NEW ZEALAND MINERS
Tomblin asks West Virginians to be mindful of the Miners and their families
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Top West Virginia Public Safety officials have been in contact with New Zealand mining representatives, by way of the U.S. State Department, over the weekend to offer any necessary expertise and resources toward the rescue effort of 29 miners who have been trapped in the Pike River coal mine located in Wellington, New Zealand, since Friday.
West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Jimmy Gianato, along with several other state officials spoke recently to New Zealand officials by conference call to determine how West Virginia might be able to assist with the ongoing rescue effort.
“Discussions with New Zealand mining officials have covered a range of topics related to rescue procedures such as drilling bore holes into the mine, taking air samples and monitoring gas levels. Officials at the mine have continuously monitored the gas levels to determine when rescue teams will be permitted to enter the mine,” said Gianato.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the trapped miners and their families,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said. “Unfortunately, West Virginia is aware that the most agonizing part of a situation like this is waiting to determine how to proceed with rescue operations.”
“Coal mining is such an important part of West Virginia’s way of life and we share a bond with mining communities across the world. That is why we want to offer any assistance necessary to help bring these brave miners out safely,” said the governor.
Gianato added that the West Virginia Miners’ Health Safety and Training and its mine safety representatives have the capability to provide swift expertise in the form of a “virtual incident command post” from here in West Virginia via telephone and the Internet. New Zealand officials have indicated that they plan to maintain contact with the West Virginia mine rescue officials, should such services be needed.