Pike river re-entry 'genuinely possible' - Govt advisor

  • 21/03/2018

Pike River's re-entry Government advisor is optimistic the remains of the 29 men can be recovered, eight years on from the tragedy.

"I think it's genuinely possible," Rob Fyfe told The AM Show on Wednesday.

"I haven't formed a view yet - there's heaps of information to review.

"But I think it's possible. We wouldn't be going down this path if we didn't think it was possible."

The former-Air New Zealand chief executive is advising the Government's action following the November 2010 disaster which saw 29 men lose their lives.

In January a Pike River Recovery Agency launched, headed by former Army Chief Major General Dave Gawn, tasked with devising a safe plan to get back into both the mine's access tunnel and main workings in stages.

If successful, the re-entry will allow the agency to gather evidence which could provide clues to what caused the initial explosion in the mine.

It would also allow remains of the 29 men to be recovered and returned to loved ones.

Mr Fyfe said the job wasn't done properly the first time.

Pike River advisor Rob Fyfe spoke to The AM Show on Wednesday.
Pike River advisor Rob Fyfe spoke to The AM Show on Wednesday. Photo credit: The AM Show

"Many of the families' views that I've spoken to is that they have been lied to [and] they haven't been treated honestly through the process," he said.

"And ultimately that's all that matters. If that's their perception, then we have to resolve that perception and I think it's valid.

"To me, the most important part of this is it's a collaborative process with the families. So we'll figure out the answer to that question and whether we can do that safely.

"It's really critical that they're a part of every step of the process, full disclosure, and we address the lack of transparency and honestly that's been there in the past."

A plan to re-enter the drift is being figured out at the moment, Mr Fyfe said.

"There's been a lot of work done already. [the Pike River Recovery Agency] is working with experts to figure out firstly if, and then how.

"I feel the pressure, but the pressure I feel is to do right by the families.

"I don't so much feel pressure around what we can or can't do but just that we treat the families well through this process."