Waihi mine rescue: loader found 'upside down', miner missing

It's believed a large underground loader has been involved in an accident at the Waihi Correnso mine and emergency services are responding. Photo / iStock
It's believed a large underground loader has been involved in an accident at the Waihi Correnso mine and emergency services are responding. Photo / iStock

Rescue teams have found a loader upside down in a Waihi gold mine tonight, but the man driving it remains missing, a mine spokesman has confirmed.

Emergency services rushed to the Correnso underground this evening after they were told a large front end loader had rolled and a male worker was not responding to radio calls.

Rescue teams began searching through 40km of tunnels in mine after the alarm was raised at 6.30pm.

Almost four hours after the incident contact had not been made, but senior community advisor at Oceana Gold in Waihi, Kit Wilson, said just before 11.30pm that the 10 metre long loader had been found.

It had not gone down a shaft, but a "stoop", which is a tunnel that opens into a cavern-like area.

Rescuers had not found the driver, who he confirmed is male, and were looking for him, Wilson said.

A police spokesperson said earlier this evening the Mine Incident Controller was leading the rescue effort of the underground mine rescue team and police were co-ordinating at the scene. All mining activities in the area had been halted.

Wilson said earlier mine management were alerted when a manager called the company and said they couldn't reach a worker by radio.

Northern Ambulance Communications' team leader Ngaire Jones said an ambulance was on scene waiting for a patient to be brought out of the mine.

"We believe there is someone trapped ... fire are organising rescue and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Auckland are on the scene.

Emergency services were called at 6.35pm and the ambulance had been on the scene since 7.15pm, she said.

A Northern Fire Commuications' spokesman referred enquiries to police.

DO YOU KNOW MORE? SEND US AN EMAIL

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 10 Dec 2016 09:15:40 Processing Time: 284ms