Pike Rive’s fourth anniversary ‘important’On 01/31/2019 by admin
Pike River families will mark the fourth anniversary of the mine disaster less than two weeks after it was decided it would not be possibile to recover the bodies of those killed.
Twenty-nine miners, including two Australians, lost their lives following a series of methane-fuelled explosions at the New Zealand mine on November 19, 2010. Their bodies have never been recovered.
On Wednesday afternoon, buses will take family members past the White Knight bridge and to the mine portal.
For some families it will be their first visit to the mine, says Bernie Monk.
The father of Michael Monk, who was killed in the mine, says he is angry it has taken this long for that to happen.
“For the families, it’s always going to be significant. It’s only in the last two weeks that everyone, except one family, thought they were going into the mine,” he told AAP.
“This is an important time. This is going to be the day people come to the conclusion that it may never happen.”
Earlier this month, state-owned coalminer Solid Energy, which bought the mine after the tragedy, decided it was too dangerous to try and re-enter the mine.
Mines Rescue had been ready to re-enter but Solid Energy’s decision had scuppered that, Mr Monk said.
He was also angry at how Solid Energy had treated the English mine experts who had advised the families on re-entry. “It gave them lip service and totally disregarded what they had to say.”
Mr Monk said he was also frustrated that the mine would now become a conservation park, but that meant $NZ300 million worth of mining infrastructure was now sitting idle when jobs were needed on the Coast.