web analytics

Don’t abandon Pike River recovery

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, January 26th, 2011 - 21 comments
Categories: families, Mining, workers' rights - Tags: ,

A fortnight ago, renowned pathologist National pollster David Farrar excused John Key’s decision to halt the recovery effort at Pike River, smugly stating that the fire meant all that would be left was “some bones and teeth, it could be just teeth”. This ‘there’s nothing left, no point’ line was the Nats’ main excuse for giving up. Even if true, there still would have been extensive evidence of the cause of the disaster but it turns out the National spin was completely wrong.

Families of the miners were shown video footage from the borehole (which the Police have apparently had for some time) of the area where the miners were working. Family spokesperson Bernie Monk says “There are still some intact bodies in there … undoubtedly this will make us push harder to get in.”

It turns out the Police are still at the mine, the Foxal machine is still pumping in nitrogen and the GAG machine has not been returned to Australia, even though Key said that the Aussies wanting the machine back was one of the reasons the recovery was being halted.

The receivers are on board. They have stated they plan to dig several more boreholes into the mine to monitor it and, presumably, these could be used to exchange its methane atmosphere for breathable air when the situation is stable enough as per the previous plan.

All of this makes it odder and odder that the government suddenly decided to break John Key’s promise to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the men and abandon the recovery operation only a day after it had been successful in sealing leaks in the mine. And it makes you wonder why they gave the receivers just two working days to decide the mine’s fate.

21 comments on “Don’t abandon Pike River recovery ”

  1. John Dalley 1

    At the time of the explosion, a map of the mine appeared in the Herald or on television and i remember thinking that the main ventilation shaft and to me, i thought at the time that there was as awful amount of tunnel part the shaft. It struck me at the time that this could well be the likely cause of the explosion (build up of gas further up the tunnel) and wondered why another ventilation shaft had not been built somewhere near the end of the current tunneling.
    While i am no expert, i expect that if they are going to recover, one, the mine and two the miners then another ventilation shaft will need to be “drilled” and the original repaired.
    I do think that the mine needs to be reopened for both reasons, recovery of the miners and the re-opening of the Pike River Mine.

  2. AndyB 2

    Just a little nit pick. You said: “Families of the miners were shown video footage from the borehole of the area where the miners were working”.

    But yesterday, police said: “Police said the new footage was well away from the areas the men were believed to be working but offered the families no explanation for withholding it.”

    So, really, the miners were not working in the vicinity of the video footage.

    edit: just to be completely clear, i do want the bodies recovered at any cost! this must be a priority for the police and receivers.

    • Bright Red 2.1

      from the article, linked in the post:

      ” Monk said mine experts consulted by the families had confirmed the footage was of an area where some of the men had been working.

      “There are still some intact bodies in there … undoubtedly this will make us push harder to get in.” “

  3. vto 3

    David Farrar should stick to blathering on about Wellington shit and leave the real world to the grown-ups. Wanker.

    Key should stick to money-dealing and also leave the real world to the grown-ups. Dick.

    (apologies for the useless abusive post but it just seems the right thing to say)

    [lprent: There were points in it.. ]

  4. Makes you wonder what else they found in there by way of damning evidence that safety systems and procedures weren’t up to scratch cos no one was monitoring them to the required standard

    The tragedy at the Pike River Coal mine would not have happened if New Zealand had maintained a mining inspector programme canned more than a decade ago, a mining specialist says.

    A chief inspector would have noticed the dangerous levels of gases pooling at the West Coast mine, and the 29 men who died in explosions from November 19 on would still be alive.


    somehow i reckon this is all gonna land on Gerry the hut’s doorstep in a flaming paper bag of shit that he can’t put out or lose the stink from…

  5. The Voice of Reason 5

    Jeez, Eddie, the video footage does not show bodies. Could you not have checked before posting? Bernie Monk has seen footage of an area near, but not adjacent to, where the guys were working. This footage shows undamaged pallets and other materials. Monk has taken from that fact that it means it is possible that intact bodies remain in other areas. He is hoping against hope that bodies remain, but the video absolutely does not show any.

    Please correct your post. It’s simply not true that bodies have been seen.

  6. vto 6

    tvor, it would be probable that now nobody will believe anything about the mine and bodies and what’s in there until it has been entered.

    And how is it unrealistic to expect that bodies may be there if timber (assumed) pallets have survived the supposed 1000 degree explosion and fires? It is in fact entirely realistic.

    Nothing the authorities say now can carry much cred on this matter imo.

    • The Voice of Reason 6.1

      I agree entirely that until we get in there, it’ll never be known for sure what happened. I can only imagine the horror if it turns out that some survived the explosion only to die of suffocation or thirst days later. But that really isn’t likely. The two that survived only did so because they were nearly a kilometre from the explosion and both had some shelter from the blast. The other were not so fortunate and, most likely, died in seconds and were cremated in the fire that followed.

      The families will clutch at any straw, no matter how unlikely, and it appears that Bernie Monk has read too much into what he has seen on the video footage. Remember, the mine is a series of short dead end tunnels, off the sides of longer dead end tunnels, so it is perfectly possible for areas away from the explosion to remain intact. But the area where the 29 were working was where the explosion was, not the side tunnel that the bore hole and video show.

      I just think it’s irresponsible to run a post that suggests bodies have been seen on video, when they absolutely have not been seen.

      • prism 6.1.1

        Bernie Monk seems a very sincere and good advocate for the Pike River people but I thought he was too definite in his interpretation of what he saw. The way that TVoR explains it sounds how it is likely to be.

        • McFlock

          Site of ignition =/= only site of overpressure, especially in an enclosed environment.

          Monk *might* be leaping to conclusions, but not as bad as key.

  7. the real risk for the Government is evidence of men still being alive after the rescue was abandoned.

  8. The reason for so much indecision with the Pike River mine recovery needs to be examined.

    Has it come down to dollars on what happens next? Yes

    Can the coroner establish the actual cause of death and time of death? No

    Do those in charge of recovering bodies know that there are no remains to be recovered? No

    Is it possible to get into the mine and survey the damage? Yes, but devices are required due to the level of gas and new entry points.

    Were substances in the shot crete used to line the tunnel deemed to be safe (some secret substances were used in the mix)?

    Why is there so much indecision by those in charge of stabilizing the mine?

    Why are the public being told that the GAG was to go back then it is not going back?

    Why are the families only going to be being given a summary of the recovery operation?

  9. Rockhouse tried to place his rescue equipment on his face before panicking, and falling unconscious. He eventually recovered consciousness and reached a fresh air valve and a phone to alert mine staff above.

    …two miners had failed to remove their identification tags upon exiting the mine. Identification tags are left on a board by miners and contractors upon entry to the mine.

    A contractor had also failed to place his tag on the board before entering the mine on November 19.



    so not only did mine boses not know who was coming or going by not enforcing the most basic of procedures but they had to be told by a recovering miner that there was even an explosion

    what happened to the alarms and bells and whistles and inspections to say…”HEY, THIS PLACE IS A FATAL ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN ???”

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      what happened to the alarms and bells and whistles and inspections to say…”HEY, THIS PLACE IS A FATAL ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN ???”

      Oh THOSE? Thought we could save a few hundred thousand by not bothering with all that pointless *red tape*.

      • Jim Nald 9.1.1

        Oh, is that like the one about wasting money on paying officials and bureaucrats to safeguard workplace safety and hazards? Or increasing compliance costs for businesses?

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Twenty highlights of 2020
    As we welcome in the new year, our focus is on continuing to keep New Zealanders safe and moving forward with our economic recovery. There’s a lot to get on with, but before we say a final goodbye to 2020, here’s a quick look back at some of the milestones ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates New Year Honour recipients
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has added her warm congratulations to the New Zealanders recognised for their contributions to their communities and the country in the New Year 2021 Honours List. “The past year has been one that few of us could have imagined. In spite of all the things that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • David Parker congratulates New Year 2021 Honours recipients
    Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment David Parker has congratulated two retired judges who have had their contributions to the country and their communities recognised in the New Year 2021 Honours list. The Hon Tony Randerson QC has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Year’s Honours highlights outstanding Pacific leadership through challenging year
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the New Year’s Honours List 2021 highlights again the outstanding contribution made by Pacific people across Aotearoa. “We are acknowledging the work of 13 Pacific leaders in the New Year’s Honours, representing a number of sectors including health, education, community, sports, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting seniors to embrace technology
    The Government’s investment in digital literacy training for seniors has led to more than 250 people participating so far, helping them stay connected. “COVID-19 has meant older New Zealanders are showing more interest in learning how to use technology like Zoom and Skype so they can to keep in touch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional COVID-19 tests for returnees from higher risk countries
    New virus variants and ongoing high rates of diseases in some countries prompt additional border protections Extra (day zero or day one) test to be in place this week New ways of reducing risk before people embark on travel being investigated, including pre-departure testing for people leaving the United Kingdom ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago