Important Pike River evidence missing

There has a lot been said and claimed over the Pike River mine disaster, but this seems like a big deal.

1 News:  Former chief mines inspector says missing piece of evidence could point to cause of Pike River Mine disaster

The mystery around a missing piece of evidence could point to the cause of the Pike River mine disaster, according to a former chief mines inspector in the UK.

The door from a fan control box was photographed nine days after the first explosion in 2010.

Tony Forster, who is now advising the families affected by the Pike River disaster, has tried to track down the object with no success.

Stuff:  Pike River families claim ‘vital’ evidence from mine explosion has been lost

A group representing some of the families of men who died in the Pike River Mine say critical evidence disappeared during the initial investigation.

The cover of an electrical cabinet was blown to the surface in one of the explosions that rocked the West Coast mine, north of Greymouth, in 2010, killing 29 men.

After it was photographed, Tony Forster, a former mines chief inspector now advising the Pike River families, told TVNZ he understood it was flown by helicopter to the Pike River office. Its current whereabouts are unknown.

“It blows my mind that something as significant as that, in an area that the Royal Commission centred on, has gone missing,” he said.

Efforts are ramping up to re-enter the mine. Police said last week they would not accompany the first re-entry team due to safety concerns, but would reconsider if there was a critical find, such as human remains.

Obviously, electrical equipment and wiring in a potentially highly flammable environment is an important thing to check when a mine explodes. So the location of the cabinet will be aan obvious thing to check when the mine is re-entered.

The electrical cabinet cover being blown 100m up a shaft and out of the mine is a big deal. As it it going missing.

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7 Comments

  1. unitedtribes2

     /  18th February 2019

    I was a miner in Rewanui 3 Greymouth 1967. It was an underground coal mine. There was absolutely no electricity allowed baring the battery on the belt of the the miner to power his helmet light. I say “his” because there was absolutely no woman in the mine. Don’t know if that was a rule. It was incredible how the mine was oppertated without power. There was one main extractor fan at the entrance. All the other air circulation was done with bradice screens to create draw. All mechanical things were driven by compressed air. All men were searched for matches before entry. Even with these precautions Strongman went up in 1965 (I think). Couple of guys still in there. If you were sacked from the mine you weren’t told. You turned up to work to find your battery had been removed from the charger. End of story. Next train down to Greymouth.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  18th February 2019

      Random searching of miners at Pike River turned these up.
      “It emerged in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River mine disaster that contraband discovered prior to the 2010 tragedy in the mine included a lighter, phones and cigarette butts.”
      Might be interesting what turns up.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  18th February 2019

        In England, it was decided in about 1840 that mine work was too dangerous for women and ‘youths’. Not for men, of course.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  18th February 2019

          I knew a woman whose husband died in one of the Huntly mine disasters (early 50s) and was found with a pick through his head.She was related to my then neighbours

          Someone at the museum said that this might well have been not an accident; that if someone was considered to be a liability, then an ‘accident’ was likely to happen to them. I was appalled, but kept quiet about this.

          I noticed in a meeting where the Museum recorded miners’ stories that they were like a family. There was a real bond between them and the wives had it, too.

          Reply
  2. Duker

     /  18th February 2019

    I had heard – anecdotally- that while the mine was in startup phase before actual mining began, that experienced industrial electrical contractors had visited the mine as part of preparing quotes to undertake work and werent very happy at the standard of electrical work that had been done that they could see from a site visit.

    Its well acepted that some sort of electrical spark was the trigger point of the explosion, of course the methane detection devices should have been working …

    Soon the nutters will be along to tell us ‘the greenies stopped it being an open cut mine’, when of course the Royal commssion investigation showed right back at the preliminary stage that wasnt ever a consideration. And any understanding of the geology would show why a steeply sloping narrow seam at those depths mean an underground tunnel was the only option.

    Reply
  3. High Flying Duck

     /  18th February 2019

    Andrew Little has the (shock-horror) probable answer here:

    “Minister for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says he would be surprised if a missing cabinet door from the explosion isn’t stored away safely somewhere.”

    In other words, just another non-story beat up to keep PR ticking over in the news.

    Reply
  4. High Flying Duck

     /  18th February 2019

    Evidence looking like it was not that important after all:

    Reply

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