Families of Pike River victims to travel deeper into mine drift

By Jessica Tyson
Pike River Mine - Photo / Supplied

 It will be an emotional day tomorrow for the 30 Pike River family members, who will travel the furthest into the Pike River drift they have ever been allowed before.

The journey to the 170m seal will be the furthest point anyone has been into the drift after the explosion which took the lives of 29 men in 2010.

Pike River mum Sonya Rockhouse says, “This will be the closest most of us will have been to our loved ones since that awful day in 2010. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I’m there. Right now I’m nervous about it but also proud that Anna and I have been able to help the families get this far”.

For Pike River widow, Anna Osborne the moment will particularly important because after the event, she will be heading into stem-cell treatment for her lymphoma cancer.

“I’m starting treatment the next day, but the thought of standing that close to Milt and of how far we have come will give me strength. I wouldn’t miss that for the world, says Osborne.

“This has been a long, long journey, but we have fought hard for truth and justice and it is almost here. That’s something we need to thank all of New Zealand for, without that support our men and the evidence that could get them justice would have been locked away forever”.

Tomorrows event will be the last chance for families to enter the drift before the full recovery of the 2.3 km tunnel begins.

The recovery is expected to be complete by June 2020.

Diagram of the Pike River Mine. Source: File