Relatives of miners furious over Kiwi govt. decision to seal Pike River mine

Friday, January 14, 2011

GREYMOUTH - Relatives of 29 miners killed in the Pike River mine in Greymouth, New Zealand, have described the government’s decision to seal the mine as a “bloody disgrace”.

Pike River Mine Committee spokesperson Bernie Monk, who lost his 23-year-old son Michael in the explosion on November 19, said that he was upset that Prime Minister John Key appeared to back the move.

“Is John Key a law unto himself now? Don’t you think he should have got in touch with the families? He made this decision without speaking to us and it is a bloody disgrace,” quoted Monk, as saying.

“To hell with him and what he says. I reckon he is letting New Zealand down here,” he added.

Monk further said that he would not rest until the miners’ bodies were recovered.

“It is a sad day for New Zealand the way they have treated us and I am taking this matter further. I am not finished yet,” Monk said.

“My aim is to get them out and I am still working on that,” he added.

Earlier, Key had admitted that the decision was “obviously a very tragic end for the families”.

“The Government was fully committed to doing everything we could to making sure the bodies were removed and that full closure could be achieved for those families, but that’s just not possible and it’s not an issue of money or time or commitment,” Key had said.

“The police have my complete support in the decision they have made,” he had added.

An explosion on November 19 had trapped the workers 2,200 metres from the mine’s entrance, but rescuers delayed entering the mine, due to the risk of another explosion.

On November 24, a second explosion occurred and it was subsequently presumed that the workers could not have survived.

A third explosion occurred on November 24, which was followed by a fourth on November 28.

As of January 13, no bodies have been recovered, and the mine remains unsafe to enter. (ANI)

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