Rescue team put message in mine

Mines Rescue staff have put a letter indicating their intentions down the Pike River coal mine. Photo / Iain McGregor
Mines Rescue staff have put a letter indicating their intentions down the Pike River coal mine. Photo / Iain McGregor

Mines Rescue staff have put a handwritten letter indicating their intentions down the Pike River coal mine.

"We've made a start of coming to get you," it says, or words to that effect, The Press newspaper reported.

The letter is a gesture to the 29 men who died in the West Coast mine in November after a series of underground explosions.

It has been fixed to a wall beyond a temporary seal 170 metres into the tunnel.

A photograph of the letter was shown at a meeting of grieving families in Greymouth this week.

"A lot of tears were lost at that point," families' spokesman, Bernie Monk, told the newspaper.

Families of the victims will seek answers on how their loved ones died when the Royal Commission into one of the country's worst disasters opens in Greymouth on Monday.

Justice Graham Panckhurst will be assisted by David Henry, former Inland Revenue Commissioner and head of the Electoral Commission, and Stewart Bell, mine safety and health commissioner for the Queensland state government.

Mr Monk, who lost his miner son Michael, said he hoped the commission would find out the truth so the tragedy would not be repeated.

New Zealand had failed to learn from similar mine disasters overseas and he hoped the commission would not make the same mistake again.

"There is going to be a change in mining in New Zealand because of Pike River and all this must come out in the Royal Commission," Mr Monk said.

While he would have liked the commission to have been able to get into the mine, he was still confident the commission would reach the truth.

- NZPA

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 21 Aug 2014 21:32:42 Processing Time: 406ms