FRASER Coast father Willy Joynson has been confirmed as one of the two Australians missing in a New Zealand mine where a gas explosion left 29 people trapped on Friday.
The 48-year-old, who grew up in Howard, is believed to have been travelling back and forth from New Zealand to the Tinana home where his wife and two children have lived for the past 12 months.
About 4.30pm Friday a gas pipe exploded in the Pike River mine on the west of New Zealand's South Island.
The cause of the blast is still unknown.
At the time of going to press methane levels were decreasing but authorities still deemed the mine too unsafe for a rescue attempt.
Mr Joynson is an experienced underground coal miner and worked for many years in the Burgowan mines at Howard.
He is the son of well known Howard couple Ezra (deceased) and Beryl Joynson and has three sisters and one brother.
The Chronicle contacted Mr Joynson's family yesterday but they were too distraught to speak and have asked for the media to respect their privacy.