Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Families witness as Pike River mine re-entry attempt begins

The Pike River re-entry team steps through the double airlock doors at 10am today, watched by families of the 29 men who died in the 2010 tragedy.

Outside the 30m concrete seal at Pike River mine. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

In 2010 the West Coast coal mine exploded, killing 29 men whose bodies have never been recovered.

The Pike River Recovery Agency has completed its year-long preparations, including cutting through the mine drift's concrete seal and ventilating the access tunnel.

Today's entry attempt will be a low-key event for families after they requested privacy. It comes after an eight-year battle by families to gain re-entry to the drift after being told numerous times by the previous government that it was too dangerous.

The re-entry team will walk through a door on the other side of the concrete seal and spend a short amount of time examining the scene. Any evidence pointing to why the mine exploded will be handed to the police.

Bernie Monk - father of Michael, one of the miners who died in the Pike River mine and who for years acted as the families' spokesperson, said there was a still a lot of work required before actual re-entry into the drift would take place, and so far there had been no indication of exactly when that might be.

"They're taking the first wall down today and then there's a lot of work to get up to the next seal and then the actual re-entry into the drift will take place after that.

"For me, I'm excited for the other families for this going on," - Bernie Monk duration 3:50
from Morning Report

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

"It could be a couple of weeks before they get down to the next seal. I don't know about that, but that's my opinion."

He remained positive however, and said it was a big day for the families.

"We're all meeting at the gate, the families that can make it back ... there won't be the big contingent of the families that were there last time due to a lot of them got to work, got to travel huge distances - some come from overseas - so you know the people that are there will be representing them.

"It's pretty low key because I think everyone's hyped up ... media and people around New Zealand, they just want to do it, you know. And I think with the work that's got to be done to get everyone up there's an enormous job so just keeping it a family affair I can understand."

He said he had seen too many failed attempts to enter the mine to believe it would definitely happen this morning.

"We've been down this track before - we've nearly been there and it hasn't happened and unfortunately the other day when I know it was going to happen it didn't - so I'll believe everything when I see it happening today."

He said he was very confident it would be safe.

"Time's not in essence and safety is a priority so I know that they'll work from day to day gauging all of these elements before they go ahead."

Earlier this month the plan to re-enter the access tunnel was called off after high levels of oxygen were detected, making entering potentially unsafe.

The problem was identified as a tube for monitoring equipment that had been leaking into the area, and has since been fixed.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Supreme Court Is A Bigger Threat Than Trump To US Democracy

If you need a chilling reminder of how weirdly different the United States is to New Zealand…then abortion rights is the place to start. Last Friday, in a case called Hopkins vs Jegley , the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of the ... More>>


The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

Dunne Speaks: It's Time For Matariki Day

The period of Matariki, the celebration of the Māori New Year, which began earlier this week, is being celebrated increasingly as an important national event. While many other countries have their own form of New Year celebrations, Matariki is uniquely ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Shouldn’t Be Pushed Into Re-Opening Our Borders

I believe in yesterday as much as Paul McCartney, but it was bemusing to see the amount of media attention lavished last week on the pandemic-related musings by former government science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman, former Prime Minister Helen Clark ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>