HE had planned to be home by the New Year but last night the chances of Fraser Coast miner Willy Joynson ever celebrating with his family again seemed unlikely.

As his loved ones braced for the fifth night without knowing if he had survived the blast that tore through New Zealand's Pike River mine on Friday, more bad news was being released from the site.

Rescue teams were still waiting for a crawler robot to arrive from Australia after the military robot sent in to survey the shaft yesterday morning broke down.

Update: Miner's hat found in Pike River

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key had announced poisonous gasses still made it too risky for a rescue team to attempt to find the 29 trapped miners.

Gary Knowles, the police commander in charge of the operation said people needed to be realistic and began using the term “recovery” rather than “rescue”.

Mr Joynson and his family reportedly planned to move back to the Fraser Coast when his 12-month contract finished up at the end of the year.

Mr Joynson's wife Kim has released a single statement since the tragedy, saying “We fully support and understand what everyone is doing behind the scenes to get our boys out.”

Yesterday tributes to Mr Joynson and his family continued to flow in from around the region.

Len Fehlhaber, principal of Maryborough's Park State School where Mr Joynson's sons Benjamin and Johnathan had once attended, passed on his well wishes in the school's newsletter.

“It is impossible to comprehend the emotions that Willy's wife Kim and two boys must be experiencing,” Mr Fehlhaber said

“As a school we have contacted Kim via email to express our thoughts and to send our very best wishes to them all.

“I would ask that we keep the Joynsons in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.”

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