I’ve not been commenting on most of the evidence at the Pike River Royal Commission because it is the Commission’s job to come to conclusions based on the evidence.
But I have to say that on the basis of reports to date, I’ve been horrified by some of the evidence. No trial evacuations, lack of escape routes, the fact it took 45 minutes to even realise there had been an explosion, no answer on the emergency line, safety equipment not working. It must be horrific for the families to be hearing this evidence.
Also chilling has been the strength of the explosions. The Press reported:
Footage of three subsequent explosions at Pike River mine was also shown at the inquiry yesterday, including the second explosion at 2.36pm on November 24, which ended all hopes of the men’s survival.
White said the second explosion was of greater magnitude than the first, and blew a 300-kilogram robot inside the mine more than 100m.
My physics is too rusty to calculate what level of energy is needed to move a 300 kg object over 100 metres, but my gut reaction is absolutely unsurvivable. If the first explosion was anything like the second, then those down the mine hopefully died quickly. I guess this will be a key issue the Commission will form a view on.