The second military robot to be sent into the Pike River drift in the days after the explosion has been recovered by the reentry team. The robot was lost in the drift on November 24 2010 – just five days after the mine exploded.
Pike River widow Anna Osborne says the recovery of the robot shows the reentry is working. “For years we were told that the drift was too dangerous to enter. This shows that we can get in and we can get evidence out.
“The last time this robot saw the light of day we were being told by the mine management that our men would still be alive down there eating their crib. It was the start of years of lies that are finally being put to rest by this recovery.”
Pike River mum Sonya Rockhouse says the progress has been welcomed by families. “The project is well underway, there are four more robots to come and then Russell Smith’s loader and then we are into unseen territory including the room that contains electrical gear and other evidence.
“This is what we fought for, it’s the chance to get to the truth of what killed the men and boys we loved and hopefully to hold someone accountable for it.”
Rowdy Durbridge lost his boy in Pike and worked in the mine himself, he says the recovery team are doing justice to the men who died. “We’ve all known for years that we could get into the drift safely, but now to see these boys getting the job done, it makes me proud we stuck to our guns.”
Footage of the robot in the drift is available at 3’10” into this video https://vimeopro.com/
Sonya Rockhouse’s editorial explaining the evidential value of the recovery is here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/