Pike River releases final footage of miners


Footage showing miners secured and descending into the coal mine in caged drift runners, entering for the final time, has been released.

Last night, some of the families of the miners killed in the 19 November explosion last year viewed two hours of footage showing the last images from the mine that day, according to The Press.

The video was taken by motion activated cameras at the mine’s entrance.

A spokesperson for some of the families, Bernie Monk, described the footage as extremely emotional.

"It was like watching people go to their deaths.”

One woman who attended the meeting recognised her husband, who died in the explosion.

The video showed all movement at the coal mine’s entrance from 6am until nearly 8pm, close to seven hours after the initial explosions. 

Monk voiced his disappointment that the families have not been shown this footage before.

Nicholas Davidson, a lawyer for the Pike River families, said one of the family members had approached police to release the footage, but had been rebuffed, so came to him for assistance. 

Police subsequently released the footage the next day.

While some families have requested to view the video in private, it will be also be shown at another viewing in Christchurch this weekend.

Monk said this most recent footage has made him angry that the bodies are still trapped in the mine.

“Just the thought of seeing these guys going to work 10 months ago and we still can’t get them out,” he explained.

Davidson said work to enter the mine is still moving forward.

Currently, the top method requires Mines Rescue Service workers walking in, up to the Rockfall.

They have been practicing walking uphill with respirators to see if it is possible to make their way in through this means.

In another recent development cameras which will be lowered into the mine to film the inside of the tunnels where the bodies possibly lay, will arrive next week.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrators of the mine, said mine entry options are still being considered, but that it is expected to cost between one and two million dollars to enter the mine and recover the bodies.

The Royal Inquiry into the Pike River disaster will enter Phase 2 next week, and look at the rescue operations following the initial explosions. 

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