Pike River mine site.
Pike River mine site.

Sombre image found in tragedy

A HEARTBREAKING new image from inside the Pike River mine has forced families of the 29 miners killed in the underground explosion to contemplate a handful of men may have survived the initial blast and rush of poisonous gasses.

TVNZ’s Sunday program broadcast the grainy image of two boxes, one open and possibly a cache of emergency breathing self-rescuers with three of four missing, taken by former Pike employee Jason Bevington off a computer screen with a phone camera.

Middlemount’s Josh Ufer and former Cook Colliery employee Willy Joynson, were among the dead in the November explosion which is the subject of an royal commission inquiry starting on July 11.

Australian miner Peter Sattler told the program he quit Pike River last year, citing safety concerns.

Mr Sattler said after viewing the image he believed the box would not normally be left open and the evidence suggested a void where some had been taken out. New Zealanders Daniel Rockhouse and Russell Smith survived the first blast.

“I don’t want to say anything that’s going to cause any more concern or hurt for the families of those 29 people… I’ve told you what it looks like to me,” Mr Sattler said.


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