Investigation into Pike River reopens

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • South Island

The investigation into the Pike River Mine tragedy is to be reopened. In 2013 Police case was dropped due to insufficient evidence and no charges were laid.

Families of the 29 men who lost their lives in the tragedy could be closer to answers. Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry says a re-entry into the drift, or access tunnel could start at the end of the year.

New Zealand's top investigator Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers and Pike River Recovery Agency reportedly meet in Greymouth last week.

Minister Little says Police will be launching new investigations and will conduct examinations inside the mine. "We knew working with the families one of the things we had to be clear about is that if we do recover the drift, we need to treat it as a crime scene and if we recover human remains there has to be proper disaster victim identification so we contemplated the police being involved from the outset.”

“Now that we're down to a detailed level of planning we're actually now physically brought them in so they know where we are at, they know there's a likelihood we can get in and so they can now start their preparations."

As well as recovering bodies, Minister Little says a forensic examination will give a better degree of accuracy on what happened in the mine after two blasts set off in 2010 killed workers.

It cannot be confirmed whether new charges could be laid.