The discovery of human remains 11 years after a mining disaster relives the pain in New Zealand: they will not rescue the bodies

Fire in the mine ventilation after the 2010 explosion (Reuters / archive) (POOL New /)

The New Zealand Police reported this Wednesday that they captured images of human remains of at least two people eleven years later of the explosion occurred in November 2010 in a coal mine in the South Island of the oceanic country, which killed and buried 29 workers.

The New Zealand Police reported in a statement that the images of the human remains, which have been reviewed by experts, were captured in an area far from the Pike River site, therefore, given the difficulty of accessing the place, they cannot be recovered.

“At the moment we have not been able to identify the remains, but we will consult with forensic experts. Based on our research, we believe there were between six and ten men working in that area where the remains were found”Said Superintendent Peter Read in the statement.

The images of the remains were captured in the framework of a drilling operation, which began last June and will end at the end of the year, to investigate the death of the miners, 23 of them New Zealanders, three British, two Australians and one South African, who were between 17 and 62 years old.

For her part, Anna Osborne, who lost her husband in the explosion, explained to Radio New Zealand that he cannot give details about the images so as “not to jeopardize any judgment”, although he acknowledged that they help to “clarify what happened down there.”

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 21, 2010 shows the entrance to the Pike River Coal mine where 29 workers are trapped inside after an explosion is pictured some 50 kms outside the New Zealand town of Greymouth.  - Eleven years after a New Zealand mine disaster claimed 29 lives, investigators on November 17, 2021 said they had found the remains of at least two of the victims but were unlikely to launch a recovery operation.  (Photo by SIMON BAKER / POOL / AFP)
Entrance to the mine where the 29 workers died (AFP) (SIMON BAKER /)

“We have fought hard for years to have justice for our children, and this is part of that”said Rowdy Durbridge, whose son Daniel was killed in the blast.

However, the minister in charge of the rescue operation, Andrew Little, commented that “it is not likely that (the bodies) will be recovered … I know that some families would like to go further, but that will not be possible.”

By now it is known that the miners would have died from trauma, burns or suffocation following a methane gas explosion accumulated that left them buried 2.5 kilometers deep inside a gallery that lacked alternative access. Only two of the 31 miners who were working were able to make it out alive.

Five days later they were presumed dead after a second explosion at the site, located in the town of Greymouth, on the South Island, in what was the second largest mining accident in New Zealand history.

Last March, the New Zealand government announced the end of funding to recover the bodies, although police investigations into the explosion continue.