Emotions ran high at Pike River on Thursday afternoon, as family members were escorted into the mine.
Thirty family members took up the opportunity to visit the 170-metre drift seal.
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Widow Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton died in the disaster, says it was a humbling experience.
"[It was] very emotional," she said. "We were able to put our hands on the seal, and I was able to talk to Milton and I almost felt him there."
The family members went the furthest they'd ever been allowed into the mine.
"It's the closest I've been to Milton for nearly nine years now, and it was an experience I'll never forget, and one I'll always appreciate," Osbourne said.
The Pike River Recovery Agency has been working around the clock to reach the milestone, a big driver; making it happen Anna Osborne begins cancer treatment next week.
Thursday marked the last chance families get to enter the mine before the crucial next phase starts - the recovery of the 2.3 kilometer long tunnel.