Second rescue robot sought for New Zealand mine

A replacement robot is being sought to help rescue 29 trapped miners in New Zealand, after the first machine broke down and short-circuited

Authorities are seeking a replacement robot to rescue 29 miners trapped in a New Zealand mine after the first machine hit water and short-circuited.

NZ robot image

A military robot has broken down after being sent to a mine to attempt the rescue of 29 trapped miners. Photo credit: NZ Defence

The robot is used by New Zealand's defence force to disarm bombs and last year helped the country's police force end a three-day gun battle — yet it seems it was not waterproof. Defence personnel have acknowledged that the robot became stuck in the mine while undertaking its mission.

Media reports from the Pike River Mine, where a gas explosion on Friday trapped the miners, say the robot hit a pool of water and short-circuited some 500 metres into the 2.2km-long mine trail. "It's history," Greymouth District mayor Tony Kokshoorn said, according to the ABC news agency in Australia. He said the failure of the robot was a "kick in the guts".

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see NZ Rescue robot fails, new bot sought on ZDNet Australia.