The news that rescue efforts to free up to 27 West Coast miners trapped after an explosion could take days must be frustrating for the family and friends.
But the 69 days it took to free the Chilean miners are an indication of how difficult rescuing miners can be.
One of the reasons for that is the guiding principle of any rescue attempt must be – first don’t make it worse.
Rescuers have to move slowly to ensure they don’t endanger any more lives or inadvertently make matters worse for the trapped miners.
We are still marvelling that no-one was killed by the Canterbury earthquake. Is it too much to hope that there will be a similar miracle in the Pike River mine?