Today all hope of any miner surviving from the Pike River coal mine wa snuffed out when a second, and larger explosion occurred at 2.37 pm. Twenty-nine miners have been declared dead. Greymouth, the West Coast and Aotearoa New Zealand are in mourning. It is moving to find that the church is at the heart of the pastoral response to this tragedy, one report of which is below. Thank you readers for your continuing prayers.
'Hundreds of people have gathered at Holy Trinity Church in Greymouth, following this afternoon's confirmation the 29 Pike River miners are dead.
Those among the congregation include mine boss Peter Whittall. He has been hugged by Daniel Rockhouse - one of the two men who walked out of the mine after Friday's explosion. Daniel's brother Ben Rockhouse is one of the men who lost their lives in the mine.
The Reverend Marge Tefft says it is a devastating day and she has paid tribute to Peter Whittall.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn presented a message sent earlier from the Pope. The Pontiff says he shares the anxiety of the miners' families, and has them in his prayers.
The Prime Minister is now looking at the possibility of having two memorials to mark the deaths of the miners. Mr Key says planning has not yet started, but his intention is to have one memorial in Greymouth and another national memorial, probably in Christchurch. He says we are a nation in mourning and that needs to be addressed.
Parliament will rise early tomorrow and flags will be flown at half mast.'