The Pike River Mine disaster was a coal mining accident that began on 19 November 2010 in the Pike River Mine, 46 kilometres (29 mi) northeast of Greymouth, in the West Coast region of New Zealand's South Island. A methane explosion occurred in the mine at approximately 3:44 pm (NZDT, UTC+13). At the time of the explosion 31 miners and contractors were present in the mine. Two miners managed to walk from the mine; they were treated for moderate injuries and released from Greymouth Hospital the next day. The remaining 16 miners and 13 contractors, often referred to as the twenty-nine, were believed to be at least 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) from the mine's entrance.
Following a second explosion on 24 November at 2:37 pm, the 29 remaining men were believed by police to be dead. Police Superintendent Gary Knowles, officer in command of the rescue operation (Operation Pike) said he believed that "based on that explosion, no one survived." A third explosion occurred at 3:39 pm on 26 November 2010, and a fourth explosion occurred just before 2 pm on 28 November 2010. According to the new mine owner, Solid Energy, the bodies of the 29 miners who died there may never be recovered.