Miners' families still waiting for answers

By Abby Gillies

Flames coming out of a ventilation shaft at the Pike River Mine. Photo / APN
Flames coming out of a ventilation shaft at the Pike River Mine. Photo / APN

As the families of the Pike River miners prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the disaster that shocked the nation, father of hero Daniel Rockhouse has spoken about his frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation.

Neville Rockhouse lost his son Ben, who died along with 28 other men in the explosion on 19 November 2010.

His other son Daniel, a mine electrician, survived the blast and was heralded a hero for helping to save worker Russell Smith by supporting him out of the mine to safety.

Today Neville Rockhouse spoke of his disbelief that the bodies of the 29 men had not yet been recovered from the mine.

"Tomorrow is going to be a very very sad occasion. To a lot of people it's unbelievable that here we are one year on and the guys are still not out of the mine," he told Newstalk ZB.

Families who lost loved ones that day have been through "excruciating times" over the last year and still did not have closure, said Mr Rockhouse.

"Two-and-a-half phases of the Royal Commission, setback after setback, the blame game, political football _ it's just been incredibly sad and incredibly arduous," he said.

Mr Rockhouse worked in Australian mines for several years and felt sure if the disaster had happened there, the miners would be out by now.

A memorial service will be held tomorrow for people to come together to celebrate the lives of "29 brave men that went off to work in good faith and didn't come home that day", said Mr Rockhouse.


- APNZ

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