6 Jun 2011

Police wind up investigation into gas explosion

5:07 am on 6 June 2011

Police are winding up their work at the site of a fatal methane gas explosion in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga.

Superintendent George Fraser says gas levels have remained low, enabling the police to finish their scene examination.

He says both the source of the gas and the cause of the explosion are still unclear.

Police and fire officers were in the tunnel investigating for most of Sunday, after fresh air was pumped in to clear the gas.

Plans to try and fix water main by Tuesday

Watercare Services is confident it can continue to supply water to Auckland without any problems despite the disruption to their work after the explosion.

Police have handed back the management of the site to Watercare Services and HEB Construction, so they can resume work on connecting the pipeline on Monday.

Watercare Service's chief operating officer, Raveen Jaduram, says they still hope to finish the work over Queen's Birthday weekend, while there is lower than usual demand for water.

He says it's hoped that the work will be complete in time for the water main to be operating again on Tuesday.

Mr Jaduram says Watercare Services is asking Aucklanders to use water wisely.

Blast casualty named

Police have named the woman who died in a gas explosion in a tunnel in Onehunga on Saturday morning.

She was Philomen Gulland, 48, a Canadian national. Ms Gulland was employed as maintenance planner at Watercare Services.

Six others were injured in the explosion and three were discharged from hospital on Saturday.

An Auckland Hospital spokesperson says the three men who are still in hospital on Sunday are in a stable condition.

He says one of them is still seriously ill in intensive care, but his condition has improved since Saturday.