Pike River investigation to enter phase two

Pike River disaster survivor Daniel Rockhouse and police chief Gary Knowles are amongst a number of witnesses who will appear during phase two of the inquiry into the coal mine tragedy.

The hearing will investigate the search and rescue mission following the initial explosions last November, according to The Press.

Three members of the Rockhouse family, Daniel, father Neville who was Pike’s safety and training manager, and mother Sonya, will all be called as witnesses.

Ben Rockhouse was one of the 29 miners killed.

The first few days of the second phase will focus on 19 November, the day of the initial explosion.

It will then look into Pike River Coal’s emergency response, with the second week focusing on the search and rescue, and recovery efforts,

This second phase of the inquiry will highlight the mine’s egress points, emergency response planning and training, whether early rescue attempts were hamstrung by a lack of information.

It will also look into whether there was actually a window of opportunity to re-enter the mine early on, and whether communications with families of the miners were adequate.

Pike River survivor Daniel Rockhouse narrowly avoided death again recently, when the roof of the North Goonyella coal mine collapsed whilst he was working underground.

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