Pike River recovery

August 9th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour Minister Simon Bridges says he will not “muck around” in taking a recovery plan to the Cabinet.

Families of the 29 men killed in a series of explosions in the West Coast coalmine in 2010 are battling to retrieve the victims’ remains.

A plan to re-enter the mine to try to recover the bodies is believed to be close to being finalised, possibly as early as tomorrow morning.

It is understood the proposal would involve sealing off the top of the ventilation shaft and pumping the mine full of nitrogen, forcing out any methane gas and allowing miners to walk up the tunnel.

The proposal must be approved as safe by the board of mine owner Solid Energy, the High Hazards Unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Government.

Bridges said the Government would back a “technically credible” proposal.

Officials had been meeting every fortnight, he said.

“What I can tell you is that as soon as Solid Energy sign off a plan it will come to me, and I won’t muck around. I will be bringing that to Cabinet forthwith.”

If there is a credible, safe and practical plan for entry into the mine, that is an excellent thing. I am sure cost is not a factor – it is all about safety. The key thing is if both Solid energy and the HHU unit agree it is a safe and workable proposal. If they both agree, I would be surprised if it does not happen.

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26 Responses to “Pike River recovery”

  1. Black with a Vengeance (1,552 comments) says:

    Hope it happens and its not just Bridges blowing smoke up the family’s asses!

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  2. Colville (2,085 comments) says:

    I am sure cost is not a factor

    WTF ??

    Who is paying for this?

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  3. UrbanNeocolonialist (184 comments) says:

    Total waste of time and money.

    Should never risk harm to others to recover a body, they are dead and gone and recovering (perhaps) some some bones won’t alter that.

    Money spent on such an effort is taken away from things that can actually save or improve the lives of the living. How much quality of life improvement can the millions that this effort would cost deliver to those on (eg) surgical wait lists. I am sure that even the bereaved families can see the sense of that – give them a choice bones of your dead or help someone living and I am sure that almost all would chose help the living.

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  4. Manolo (13,390 comments) says:

    @UrbanNeocolonialist,
    100% right: an utter waste of money.

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  5. Rich Prick (1,557 comments) says:

    Is anyone else totally over hearing about or from Pike River, the families and/or Bernie Monk? We’ve had almost three years of it now, how many more must we endure?

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  6. david (2,539 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t bet on that Urban. The wailing that has gone on since the fire has been continuous, intense and remarkably focussed to the extent that the families have swallowed up millions of donated dollars and stretched the tolerance of the general public of the rest of NZ to a degree never seen before in my (reasonably long) lifetime. Bernie has convinced us that only risking more lives will be enough to start the process of assuaging their grief. As a result the Government has been held hostage by the media. I’m over it.

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  7. Lance (2,457 comments) says:

    I hate to be brutal. But the mine was at hundreds of degrees C for weeks/months on end….. ummmm….

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  8. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I’m finding the obsession of the families and some of the West Coast community with dead bodies to be more than a bit pathological. The guys died three years ago. They aren’t coming back. It was a tragedy. But moving dead bodies (or what is left after three years worth of fire, explosion, toxic gas, and moisture) from one place to another isn’t going to change anything. It was time to move on about two and a half years ago.

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  9. david (2,539 comments) says:

    Rich Prick – snap

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  10. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I hope the plan includes getting the mine working again. Otherwise it is simply not worth it. The bodies are likely to be ash, at best, and endangering more lives for that reason alone has little merit.

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  11. Matthew Percival (16 comments) says:

    I’m skeptical.

    If the solution is as simple as sealing the mine and pumping it full of Nitrogen why has it taken 2 years to come up with this proposal?

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  12. Psycho Milt (2,267 comments) says:

    The government should have declared the thing a tomb when it first became obvious how difficult, expensive and risky it would be to recover the bodies. The dead don’t care whether their last resting place is in a proper cemetery or not, for a fairly fucking obvious reason. What next? We must recover every drowned sailor from every sunken ship? Repatriate every soldier’s corpse from the various wars? Somebody needs to give these hysterics a slap and provide a refresher on what the word “dead” means.

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  13. RRM (9,475 comments) says:

    There are certainly a lot of very knowledgeable people on here!

    maybe Kiwiblog Mine Recovery Team Alpha could travel to Pike River and volunteer to go and get the bodies out?

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  14. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    If it’s your father or son’s body in that mine I’m sure you care if their body is recovered or not.

    And as for being ‘sick of hearing’ about this, none of these people chose to be in this situation, it doesn’t go away because readers of a blog are bored of hearing about it.

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  15. Judith (7,650 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt (1,424) Says:
    August 9th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
    —————————–

    I agree with your sentiments to a certain degree.

    There are hundreds of kiwi men that lie in the mud at Passchendale. Little attempt was ever made to find them and bring them home. Most still lie under the pasture – many of their loved ones have visited and paid their respects that way. More than 2,000 NZ families lost men in that war, none of them expected to have their dead returned, those that did considered themselves very lucky.

    I think some of the familes desire in this case is due to the uncertainty of not knowing how their men died. Did they survive that first blast? etc etc. Of course there is a desire to know, but as has been pointed out, it is unlikely due to the conditions that will ever be known.

    The expense is tremendous – in these hard times, it seems ridiculous. I too feel the government should have closed the mine, bought the land and turned it into a memorial park. As long as there is just one person not returned from that mine it will always be regarded as sacred.

    But, as a parent, if that was my son lying in that mine, I would want him back and I would want to know – so I can understand their need – however, sometimes we just can’t have what we want.

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  16. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    YesWeDid

    If it were my son, brother or father, I would not want others to die in the hope of recovering the bodies of those already gone. If it were my son, father or brother, as hard as it may be, Having a body or not does not change the fact that they are gone.

    I did not choose to be in this situation. No one would. But those of us unencumbered by grief might have a better handle on the risks vs reward scenario.

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  17. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I agree with the sentiment about recovering the bodies and providing closure for the families. But it must be considered against the risks taken by the miners who carry out the job. They have families too and we should contemplate a situation where even more lives are lost in that mine as a result of the recovery operation.

    I want to see the remains recovered and a safely operating mine providing jobs and a future for the Coasters.

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  18. KevinH (1,132 comments) says:

    This is good news because it will give the families of the deceased closure and put to rest the reasons for the tragedy. John Key did say at the memorial service that no expense would be spared in recovering the remains of these accident victims.

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  19. Albert_Ross (249 comments) says:

    Kea: no matter what it costs?

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  20. Ashley Schaeffer (411 comments) says:

    I agree with Kea on this and although it hurt a little deep down inside I even gave him an up-tick.

    I have no issue at all with tax dollars being used to recover the bodies. Considering the amount of money the Government pisses away on other trivial shit, this has some merit relatively speaking. It’s not important to me, but it is important to the families.

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  21. Manolo (13,390 comments) says:

    The Luddites always pouring more petrol and fanning the flames of the anti-mining fire.

    On a related topic, did anyone see on TV the demented Green Delahunty ranting about the Bathurst decision and how it will desecrate the land? These communists are determined to bankrupt the country in no time with their anti-progress stance.

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  22. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    Lance (2,075) Says:
    August 9th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I hate to be brutal. But the mine was at hundreds of degrees C for weeks/months on end….. ummmm….

    Cremetoriun yep.

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  23. PaulP (142 comments) says:

    Loosely related to this – On the last Pike River thread a question was asked about the trust set up for donations and what happened to those funds.

    I found this http://www.pikeriverdonations.org.nz/media-releases/

    Good to hear the money went to the families.

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  24. Psycho Milt (2,267 comments) says:

    But, as a parent, if that was my son lying in that mine, I would want him back…

    If a family member is dead, you can’t have them back. This is pretty much the first thing anyone needs to know about death.

    These miners are not lying in the Pike River mine. They died – they’re not lying, standing or sitting anywhere because they no longer exist. This fetishism for corpses we seem to be developing is unpleasantly irrational.

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  25. Mike Readman (358 comments) says:

    “The proposal must be approved as SAFE by the board of mine owner Solid Energy, the High Hazards Unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Government.”

    Did none of you guys whining about it being dangerous read this part of the post?!

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  26. OneTrack (2,618 comments) says:

    Kevinh – “John Key did say at the memorial service that no expense would be spared in ..”

    Oh, ffs. John Key SAID. So we should simply ignore all issues of safety, practicality and cost, because at a point in time John Key SAID.

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