On November 2010, in the Paparoa Range of the South Island, a massive explosion rocked an underground coal mine. Later that day two ashen men stumbled from the entrance. Twenty-nine men remained unaccounted for. Initial probes revealed fatally high methane levels in the mine – conditions deemed unsurvivable for the trapped men. But it was only after a second blast five days later that all hope was extinguished.
This is an account of a disaster that should never have happened, of the dramatic political and legal fallout, and the effect on the small West Coast community. It reveals an appalling string of mistakes, from consent being given for the mine in the first place, to lack of proper monitoring equipment, pressure to ignore safety requirements, and effectively only a single exit. It puts a human face on the people who suffered, and provides insight on who's to blame.