New Pike footage shows no sign of inferno
New footage from deep inside Pike River Mine shows no sign of an inferno or underground fire.
The footage, obtained by Newshub, also shows what appears to be a pair of spectacles belonging to Ben Rockhouse, the only miner working in that area who wore glasses.
Filmed in 2011, just over a month after the fourth 2010 explosion, the footage shows the coal face of the mine, as deep as operations had got.
There are wooden pallets, rubber hoses, and other combustible items that are untouched and uncharred.
It flies in the face of what officials told the families on November 24 2010 - that the no one would have survived and the bodies would have been reduced to nothing.
The footage was taken by a camera lowered down a hole which had been drilled from 126m above the mine, known as borehole 44.
UK mines rescue consultant Brian Robinson says the footage shows there was no fire in the immediate area around borehole 44.
"If there had been fire in that portion of the mine, the pallet, hoses and cables would have burnt, no doubt at all," he told Newshub.
The footage was also shown to coal methane expert David Creedy, who agreed.
"The video clearly confirms absence of fire damage. The stability of the mine at that location also does not appear to have been compromised," he told Newshub.
Mr Rockhouse's mother Sonya says it proves what officials told the families in 2010 was wrong.
"I'll never forget those words 'There's a raging inferno and there'll be nothing left of them but dust' and that simply is not true," she told Newshub.
Are these Ben Rockhouse's glasses?
There were three men known to be working in the area of the mine which was captured by the camera at borehole 44.
They were Ben Rockhouse, Joseph Dunbar, and Josh Ufer. Mr Rockhouse was the only one who wore spectacles.
"He had to wear them all the time. He couldn't see without them so, it's most likely they are his," Ms Rockhouse said.
Mr Robinson said it's possible the glasses belong to Ben.
"Although the images are not brilliant, they certainly look like spectacles, although a more hi-res, better image would be required to give proper definition," he told Newshub.
"Safety glasses are of a plastic manufacture and a slightly different shape with protective side arms too. So, yes it is possible they are Ben's glasses."
Ms Rockhouse only recently saw the footage and says it's a hard watch that hit home.
"To actually see where he was, or is, is pretty difficult, it's pretty sad. It's certainly kept me awake at night, that's for sure," she said.