Victim's family lash out at mine

AS the reality of New Zealand’s Pike River Mine disaster set in, shock turned to outrage for relatives of fallen Fraser Coast father Willy Joynson.

While grieving family members and friends around the globe vented their anger at the authorities who had not sent a rescue team in to the mine in the days following Friday’s explosion, Willy’s cousin Russ Joynson pointed his finger in another direction.

The former coal miner, who worked for years with Willy at Howard’s Burgowan mines, said the people who needed to be questioned were those in charge on mine safety regulations.

He said he understood there was a lot of animosity towards police and those in charge of the foiled rescue operation but stressed that if those who were angry knew about methane, they would understand why a team were yet to go inside the mine.

He said sending a team into a mine where methane levels were soaring would have been like playing “Russian roulette”.

What surprised Mr Joynson even more about the explosion was that the mine didn’t appear to have a system to remotely sample air throughout the mine or a machine on site to test air samples because helicopters were flying samples out.

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