Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry

BERNIE Monk, spokesman for the families of the Pike River explosion victims, believes a re-entry into the disaster site is not far away.
Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry Families remain hopeful for Pike River re-entry

 

Staff Reporter

Monk spoke to ILN following the announcement that the New Zealand police would not be laying any individual criminal charges over the November 2010 disaster that killed 29 men.

The investigation determined there was insufficient evidence to lay manslaughter charges against anyone involved in the management of Pike River Coal Limited prior to the tragedy.

“The lack of any causative link to the specific events which led to the explosion means a manslaughter prosecution of any individual does not meet the standard of evidential sufficiency,” a police statement Thursday evening said.

Monk said the decision was not a surprise.

“We had a feeling it would go this way. It was just another tick in the box and [now we] move on really.

“There has been no accountability the whole way through. No one has put their hand up and said they were guilty of what happened.

“Even though the royal commission came out and said there were tremendous failures, until we get into the mine we can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt what happened.”

Monk said he was in regular communication with the current owner of Pike River, state-owned Solid Energy, and a safety-first proposal for re-entry into the drift was only a matter of weeks away from going to the board for approval.

“We are very hopeful for re-entry. And with the police announcement last night, the police left the door open [for] further prosecutions once evidence is brought out [from the mine],” Monk said.

“We do want [an answer] and I think the country deserves it because people should be made accountable for their actions.”

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