Pike River – police may re-investigate

RNZ: Police get ready to reopen Pike River investigation

The police are gearing up to reopen their investigation into the explosion at Pike River, in anticipation of the planned re-entry of the mine later this year.

Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers visited Greymouth last week to meet the Pike River Recovery Agency and victims’ families.

Detective Superintendent Peter Read, who led the initial inquiry into the disaster in which 29 miners died, also attended.

That investigation concluded in 2013 with no charges being laid.

The police said if re-entry was achieved they would complete their scene investigation and assess any new evidence and its impact on the original inquiry.

In a statement, a police spokesperson confirmed the officers met with the Agency on 13 June to discuss the police’s role in the planned re-entry.

“Police would have a dual role should re-entry to the drift be achieved,” the statement said.

“One involves completion of the scene examination in relation to the original police investigation. The other role involves management of any processes required on behalf of the Coroner.

“Any new evidence which is identified would be assessed to determine what, if any relevance it had on the original investigation which concluded in July 2013.”

Police said they were also considering seconding an officer to work closely, albeit remotely, with the Agency in the lead-up to the operation.

This morning:

RNZ:  Pike River families: ‘We’ve been down this road before’

Pike River families have told police they have a long way to go to rebuild trust as they prepare to reopen their investigation into the disaster.

A spokesperson for some of the Pike River families, Bernie Monk, said he was pleased the investigation would be reopened.

But he said the families still have ill-feeling towards the police because of how they walked away five years ago.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before we accept the police coming back into our lives,” Mr Monk said.

Mr Monk said the families have always considered the mine to be a crime scene.

He told Morning Report the families had sat down with the police last week to work through some of the difficulties they had had with them in the past.

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11 Comments

  1. Gerrit

     /  June 18, 2018

    Means re-entry becomes so much more complicated. The mine is a crime scene and as such must be examined in detail by forensically trained personnel.

    To blunder in and contaminate the crime scene means that evidence, pertaining to wrong doing in the mine, is severely compromised when presented in a court of law. Defense layers will love that.

    The drift only will be entered whilst the rest of the mine (and the seat of the explosion) will not (hidden behind a massive rock fall) meaning evidence will not be collected to indicate why the four explosions happened.

    A new tunnel is proposed to enter the mine directly, cost blowout to many many more than the 23 million budgeted for.

    Resource consent will take 10 years meaning those on fat incomes for sitting on the re-entry committee will be swilling on the trough for ever.

  2. George

     /  June 18, 2018

    But but but they’re currently very very very busy looking into the labor camp touchy feely case.
    It appears that our police are becoming political animals

    • Gezza

       /  June 18, 2018

      When were they ever not political animals?

  3. Zedd

     /  June 18, 2018

    i think after all this time, the focus needs to be on recovering bodies for whanau, not looking to jail anyone, unless death resulted from negligence

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  June 18, 2018

      Bodies ? Dream on. A retired miner I know says that there will be nothing remotely resembling a body after an explosion like that,, and he would know.

      $23,000,000 to recover a few shards of bone. Nearly $1,000,000 for each miner.

      • duperez

         /  June 18, 2018

        Maybe the retired miner could offer his services as an expert consultant and charge them a mere $5,000,000. They won’t have to do anything after he’s shared with them. That’ll be a big saving. Or they could get some of the many experts elsewhere who are giving all the knowledgeable stuff for free.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  June 18, 2018

          He was not claiming to be an expert, one doesn’t have to be to know what happens in a mine explosion when there have been so many of them.

      • Zedd

         /  June 19, 2018

        i dont know where you get these prices/figures or how you determine the cost to the families.. kitty

        but you confirm the saying ‘the right may know the price of everything, but the value of NOTHING !’

        • Zedd

           /  June 19, 2018

          if Sir John or Sir Bill’s whanau members were buried their.. Im sure they would have moved ‘heaven & high water’ to get the bodies out & a compensation agreement..

          how can anyone think that ? ‘they are buried under that mountain.. if you want to know where you whanau members are.. good luck !’

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  June 19, 2018

            I did not say that the family would pay it, merely that the $23,000,000 quoted on the news was $1,000,000 (near enough) for each family. There is no guarantee that it will be successful. There is every chance that nothing recognisable or identifiable will be found if it is.

            Make the mine their tomb and let them rest in peace and dignity,

            • Zedd

               /  June 19, 2018

              i hear you.. kitty; but I’ll agree to disagree