Aussie mum wants son’s body back from Pike River

The discovery of a fully-clothed body inside the Pike River coal mine has increased calls from families to retrieve the bodies of victims.

The mother of Australian man, Josh Ulfer, who was killed in the tragedy on 19 November has pleaded with the New Zealand government to recover her son’s body.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said earlier today the discovery of the body changes little, and the mine still remains too dangerous to enter.

Joanne Ufer told The Townsville Bulletin she has been waiting five months for her son to be retrieved and the discovery of the fully clothed body has increased her hopes his body could be returned.

"It has been our hope right from the word go to bring Josh home to north Queensland and that hasn’t changed," she told the Townsville Bulletin.

"We now know there could be bodies still down there so it’s time to start pushing harder for answers and for the start of the recovery process to take place."

The mine has remained too unsafe and dangerous for recovery teams to enter and the New Zealand police said earlier this week they spent $11 million in its recovery attempts.

Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers have announced plans to sell the mine and the most prominent bidder, Solid Energy, says it will continue trying to reach the miners if it takes control of Pike River.

Ufer left behind his pregnant partner Rachelle Weaver when he was killed unexpectedly in the underground coal mine on New Zealand’s West Coast.

His mother is preparing to travel to New Zealand for the birth next month and she said the loss of her son has been made more difficult with the impending birth.

“I am excited to be able to hold my first grandchild but I know it will be bittersweet without having Josh there to be a part of it all," she told the Bulletin.
 

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