Added by David Sandercock on May 27, 2011
New Zealand’s Mines Rescue service has agreed to enter the Pike River mine where 29 miners were killed last November, giving hope to families that the bodies of their loved ones will finally be recovered.
According to a spokesman for the families, Bernie Monk, work to stabilise the mine to make it safer to re-enter is due to start next Monday.
Monk spoke to media following a meeting held in Christchurch on Monday between families, police and rescue workers: “At least it’s a start, I think having everyone around the table today has brought everything out into the open, most people went away with an agreeance of what we discussed,” he told Radio New Zealand.
Monk also added “I expect to see some of the bodies are still intact, their clothing and stuff like that.”
TVNZ reported on its website that the aim of the Mines Rescue operation would be to recover the bodies, to produce evident for the Royal Commission of Inquiry, and also to increase the appeal of the mine to potential investors.
29 men died in the Pike River mine after a series of explosions caused by methane gas. Families of the deceased have expressed frustration with the lack of plans to retrieve the bodies, particularly after a forensic video was released showing two objects thought to be human forms.
However, some family member do not want rescue staff to re-enter the mine: “We would much prefer to remember our son and brother exactly as he was the day he went to work, not what he may be now,” said Rod Holling, who lost his son Richard in the mine explosions.