'We're not giving up on Willy'

THE distraught family of the Fraser Coast father trapped in a New Zealand coal mine was last night refusing to give up hope that he was still alive.

Willy Joynson, 49, was one of 29 miners to be reported missing following a massive gas explosion last Friday.

Last night family members from around the region gathered at Mr Joynson’s childhood home in support of his mother Beryl, who was too upset to face the media.

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His wife Kim and two children were reportedly among families keeping a vigil at the mine site where an expert drilling team had begun working its way through a shaft yesterday afternoon.

His sister Veronica Cook described him as “loyal, tough and honest” and said if her brother was still alive, he would be encouraging his fellow miners to say positive.

“He would be telling them not to give up so we’re not going to give up on him,” she said.

At the time of going to press authorities had announced methane levels had decreased enough for the first stages of a rescue operation to begin but warned the tedious and dangerous mission could take days.

An expert drilling team has already worked its way down a test shaft.

As news of Mr Joynson’s involvement in the disaster spread around the region well wishes from family and friends flooded in.

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