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Human remains have been found 11 years after a explosion at Pike River Mine on the West Coast, as an investigation into the disaster continues.
The November 2010 disaster led to the death of 29 miners. Since then, their bodies have not been recovered.
Police have been investigating at the boreholes as part of a criminal investigation by retrieving any relevant evidence from the site.
The investigation is intended to provide any context to assumptions about how the explosion happened within the Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Image: CC/ SUPPLIED
Pike River Memorial site overlooking Logburn Road toward the hills where Pike River Mine is situated.
Detective Superintendent Peter Read said in a 2.15pm press conference today to media, at least two bodies of the men were found deep inside the mine and can not be recovered.
“It has been nearly 11 years since the Pike River Mine disaster, where 29 men tragically lost their lives. These images will add to the picture of the investigation as we work to provide answers for families,” Detective Read said.
“At this point we have been unable to identify the remains however we will consult with forensic experts. Based on our investigation we believe there were six to eight men working in the area where the remains have been located.”
Image: CC/ SUPPLIED
Police told families of the miners they took images last week from the boreholes. They'd confirmed two bodies were identified, and a possibility there had been a third body.
Pathologists and experts reviewed the images over the weekend, and police only received the news this morning.
“I would like to acknowledge the support from Pike River Recovery Agency staff and our drilling and mining experts who have supported the borehole drilling operation and assisted us with this discovery,” Detective Read said.
“The additional borehole drilling programme started in June and this work has enabled digital scanning and photography of the conditions in the mine near the boreholes. The drilling programme remains ongoing and is due to be completed before the end of the year.”
The finding of bodies falls two days before the 11th anniversary of the explosion.
Police will not release the images at this time. Though, more images will be taken of the boreholes later in the week.
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