Firm seeks answers over tunnel drama

Transpower will review its processes after five men believed to be missing in a tunnel sparked a full-scale emergency callout yesterday.

The Transpower maintenance staff were working in a Vector cable tunnel below Nuffield St, Newmarket, but failed to make contact with their supervisor above ground at 7.30pm.

There was no word from the men for three hours before they were found safe and well by the Fire Service about 11pm.

Transpower spokeswoman Rebecca Wilson said the men were working in the underground tunnel for most of the day.

"There was no incident at all underground or in the tunnel, it was purely a communication breakdown," she said.

"We have a protocol in place that we check in with those people in that tunnel because it's underground or in a confined space. We check in with them every 30 minutes.

"Obviously we contacted emergency services when we hadn't heard from them," she said 

Wilson said the company would review its processes and hoped to have "some answers shortly, within the next couple of days".

"This is not something that happens frequently. The process is in place essentially because the tunnel is a confined area, but we are reviewing the reason for that loss of communication and we will investigate and obviously rectify what it was."

Fairfax Media