Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports

VARIOUS reports from New Zealand indicate that underground video footage taken at the Pike River Coal mine in February might have captured a fully clothed body laying face down.
Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports Forensic pathologist identifies Pike body: reports

Underground at the Pike River mine months before tragedy struck in November, 2010. Image courtesy of PRC.

Blair Price

Police have confirmed to Radio New Zealand that a video image contained what was considered to be a fully clothed miner lying face down, according to the expert opinion of a senior forensic pathologist, Dr Martin Sage.

The video was captured from down borehole 47 in February, and police had brought in Sage to provide his opinion on one of the eight images.

Further efforts to scan the image for greater detail are reportedly underway, while crews at the mine aim to obtain a better camera from the United States.

Police assistant commissioner of specialist operations Grant Nicholls told the New Zealand Herald that more refinement and interpretation of the image that “appears to be a body” is needed.

He added the footage showed that an equipment box which contained a fire extinguisher had been opened in the mine, according to this report.

Families have been informed of the developments.

The first in a series of explosions struck the Pike River mine on November 19, claiming 29 lives.

Hopes of finding more survivors from the mine ended after the second underground explosion on November 24.

Damage from subsequent methane explosions and a fire underground further complicated the recovery efforts.

As part of the mine stabilisation effort, crews aim to identify whether a roof fall has taken place underground, which could compromise efforts to inertise deeper areas of the mine.

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