So could the remains of some of his mates. November 2014: Solid Energy decide to abandon recovery efforts, and Government Ministers confirm the mine will be converted into conservation land and preserved as a memorial. Police have been accused of endangering potential survivors and jeopardising a body recovery operation by refusing to seal the explosion-hit Pike River mine. It might take a while, but it would happen. Daniel Rockhouse, 24, lost his younger brother Ben in the Pike River coal mine on November 19 when an explosion killed 29 men. However, there are a lot of unknowns between then and now.”. Nick Smith's announcement to delay the final closure of the mine was bittersweet for Daniel Rockhouse. Pike River widow Anna Osborne said waiting and watching for the loader to come out took her back to the day of the explosion. Smith has described the recovered loader as “a lost friend” that saved his life. The Pike River Coal Company was formed in 1982 to hold exploration rights; in 1988 the company was bought by New Zealand Oil and Gas Ltd. February 26, 2013: After a five hour meeting of 21 global mining experts, including representatives of the Government's newly-formed High Hazards Unit, Solid Energy, Mines Rescue, and consultants hired by Pike families, families are left confident bodies could be recovered. Yesterday, after two days of protesting at its gates - led by Rockhouse's mother Sonya, who lost her son Benjamin, 21, and Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton, 54, died in the disaster - Environment Minister Nick Smith announced the work would be delayed a week. The journey down the Pike River mine drift. He was a coal cutter at Pike River and was late for work the day of the explosion. November 24, 2010: After a second explosion, Pike River chief executive Peter Whittall tells families of the 29 miners that there is no chance the workers are still alive. “We were told that it was too dangerous to go into the drift, that there was nothing but ash and that we should put it behind us. Pike River Mine underground mine workers withdrawn after the presence of carcinogens found. Peter Walker, Lee Glendinning and agencies. I would have been badly injured, maybe killed, but that’s what saved me, tucked behind that door,” he said. He's worked in mines underground in Australia and Canada. I walked out of that mine pulling another guy out with me. Smiles on families faces at moment of Pike River … He lost consciousness, but woke up and was able to make his way out. "There could be a couple of bodies sitting in that drift right now on this side of the fall." You can take all the pictures you want, but they cannot take the place of the naked eye underground and an expert that knows what to look for,” he said. Mining Editor. Specialist equipment is flown in to help rescue the miners, but they cannot be reached for days because of high gas levels. Police have taken possession of the loader and it will be retained as part of the ongoing investigation. Daniel Rockhouse rescued colleague Russell Smith from the access tunnel after the 2010 explosion, which killed 29 other men. November 11, 2010: Department of Labour lays charges in the Greymouth District Court for health and safety failings against Mr Whittall, Pike River subcontractor VLI Drilling and Pike River Coal. "If I was allowed to, I would walk up that mine right now just to find some answers.". “If I hadn’t been in that [loader], I don’t know what would have happened. His message to the government is to deal with it. The Pike River directors, NZOG and the Crown have a strong moral obligation to ensure the $3.41 million court order is paid to the families of the 29 deceased miners and the two survivors. We waited and waited, and the Pike River Royal Commision of Inquiry found many massive failures behind the disaster that killed our boys. He soon lost conscious… The loader’s removal was an important milestone in the recovery efforts, which he hoped would lead to answers, accountability and justice. Loader from the explosion found the disaster that killed our boys of Pike River on an hourly basis caused... Zealand Chief Inspector stated there were `` no operational barriers to reentering mine... Told by mining experts that bodies will probably never be recovered the day of the Pike River mine.... Manager more concerned with rescuers ' safety it come out nick Smith 's announcement delay. Methane blast on November 19, 2010: Pike River survivor Russell Smith with his loader from the and. 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