Inside Pike River: Interactive graphic shows extent of disaster

This is Pike River as you've never seen it before.

An interactive 3D model is offering a new experience to put you, the viewer, inside the mine and travel deep underground.

Created by Newshub's graphics team, there is an extraordinary level of detail to the model. It shows you just how big the mine is, and the arduous task the recovery operation faces.

How to use model

  • Hold and move left mouse button to change rotation view
  • Use scroll button to zoom in and out
  • Hold and move scroll button to move map.

The graphic starts at the mine entrance. Right now, only the first 30 metres are accessible.

It's a cold dark concrete cave ending in an 88cm-thick temporary concrete wall. Beyond it is the methane - and the bodies of the miners claimed by the tragedy that Pike River families are so desperate to recover.

Newshub National Correspondent Patrick Gower went inside the mine with family's spokesman Bernie Monk. He lost his son Michael in the mine - one of 29 to die.

Standing at the wall, he said it was a symbol of his fight to reclaim the body of his son.

"It's that wall that's stopping us from re-entering the mine - and I just think, I just want to tear it down myself," he told Gower.

Bernie Monk touches the concrete wall that separates him from his son Michael.
Bernie Monk touches the concrete wall that separates him from his son Michael. Photo credit: Newshub

Mine rescue workers have been 300m up the mine, and built a wall at 170m to seal it. It was there they left a note to their friends saying they plan to "never give up" and "will return".

The note reads as follows:

"Colleagues and friends, we have commenced our journey to you. This has been the first step to bring you home to your loved ones.

"We will not rest and we will never give up. We will return. Kia Kaha.

"From NZ Mines Rescue Service and our Australian brothers."

The note left by mine rescue workers to their friends.
The note left by mine rescue workers to their friends. Photo credit: Supplied

A robot has been 1570 metres in, up to where the tunnel is blocked. But its journey ended when it got into trouble and overheated.

Past this is unexplored and there could be bodies or evidence there which reveals vital clues about what caused the explosion.

Of most interest will be an area past 1600m which includes an electrical substation that mining expert Tony Forster says could potentially hold lots of answers.

One last thing: If you scroll in, you'll see little people on the model which show the names and last known locations of those who were trapped inside the mine.

And as the Pike River mission prepares for its re-entry, ultimately, they are what this is all about.

Newshub.

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