Media rip the scab off Pike River – on schedule

New footage from inside the Pike River mine appears to contradict official reports that the 2010 explosions caused a raging inferno that would have destroyed everything inside.

The footage, released to the families of the 29 men who died in the mining disaster, was aired on Newshub tonight.

It was shot in 2011 by a camera lowered down borehole 44, which was drilled after the explosions. The footage shows rubber hoses and wooden pallets that appear unburnt, deep in the mine next to the coalface.

The families say that contradicts the story they were told, that everything in the mine had been burnt up.

But Dr Nick Smith, acting Conservation Minister for Pike River issues, said the expert reports never claimed the entire mine was an inferno.

“There is nothing in the film released that changes anything in the technical reports. None of them claimed that every corner of the mine was burnt to a cinder,” he said.

“It would only be possible for there to be fire where there was both the presence of methane, oxygen and a source of ignition.”

The grainy footage also appears to show a pair of spectacles which may have belonged to Ben Rockhouse, one of the victims of the explosion who was working in that location.

His mother Sonya Rockhouse said the footage raises serious question about the Government’s refusal to allow recovery specialists to go inside the mine.

“New Zealand has been told there’s nothing but ashes and dust down there, they’ve been told that the drift can’t be made safe to enter and investigate.

“That’s just not true, my boy is down there and if pallets and paper are intact then so is his body.”

Actually, the point is that the mine can’t be entered safely.   Feel free to go and recover the remains of your loved ones if you can find people who are willing to die in the process.

This Pike River thing keeps on flaring up.  And nine out of ten times it’s the media that keeps digging up the metaphorical corpses and making the poor families unwitting “news” generators.

They really should try something new.  Like Erebus, or the Wahine disaster.

Oh, hey, why not the Wairau Affray?


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.