Saturday, July 20, 2024

Pike River Mine drilling reveals more heartbreak

Police this week located more human remains as part of the final stages of the second borehole drilling programme at Pike River Mine.

They say the remains of two or possibly three, miners were located in the crib room area. All 10 boreholes have now been drilled, imaged, and resealed.

Detective Superintendent Darryl Sweeney said Police are not able to say who the men might be.

“Previously, Police have been able to narrow down the possibilities based on information about where the miners were working prior to the first explosion,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in this case, we’re not able to do that.

“We also located one of two missing drift runners – vehicles used to transport miners and materials underground – in the same area,” Detective Superintendent Sweeney says.

The families of all 29 miners were notified of the discovery on Wednesday.

“We recognise this process is extremely difficult for the families and we are committed to keeping them up to date on our investigation into the first explosion at the mine in November 2010.”

“The completion of the borehole programme means we are now focusing on other aspects of the investigation.

“This includes working through witness statements and re-interviewing some of those involved,” Detective Superintendent Sweeney said.

All equipment was removed from the remote West Coast site last week and a blessing was held on Monday.

Detective Superintendent Sweeney today expressed his thanks to all those who worked on the borehole programme.

“This was an extremely unique and complex task that required everyone involved to constantly adapt and innovate.

“Much of the equipment was custom-built or modified to overcome the challenges of working in a dark, volatile environment that’s otherwise inaccessible.

“The quality of the images obtained is world-class and a testament to the hard work of many Police staff and external experts. I’m grateful for their knowledge, skills, and experience.”

A total of 18 boreholes were drilled and 20 imaged during the Police investigation – eight drilled and 10 imaged during the first drilling programme in 2021/2022 and 10 drilled and imaged this year. The remains of up to 12 of the 29 miners have been located.

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