Pike River Mine workers reach 'real milestone' in recovery operation

The team of workers behind the Pike River Mine recovery attempt have reached a 'real milestone' in the operation.

At 12:55 pm on Wednesday, they reached an area known as Pit Bottom in Stone - 1880 metres down the mine's drift.

This area is critical for forensic examination, according to the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little.

Pike River Recovery Agency CEO Dave Gawn says it's an area of significant interest.

"Pit Bottom in Stone is a key area particularly for the police perspective because of the infrastructure and equipment that it holds," he says.

It's the furthest anyone's been inside the mine since it exploded nearly 10 years ago, killing 29 men.

"This is a real milestone and something to be lauded particularly by the families who have been on a 10-year journey to try and get some semblance of the truth and what actually caused the explosion in the first place," Gawn says.

Pit Bottom in Stone is 600 metres of interconnected tunnels and considered a critical site for forensic analysis because it houses infrastructure including electrical equipment.

Newshub has spoken to some of the families who say they are elated by today's development and they are hoping it will provide evidence and some answers as to what happened to their loved ones.