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Families discussed Pike River robot entry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/05/2017

The entry of a robot into the drift was discussed with the families of the Pike River mine soon after the disaster, police say.

Extracts from family meeting notes from March 9, 2011 have been unearthed by police which say the next activity into the mine would be to send the West Australian robot into the drift, followed by drilling.

More extracts reveal that the robot and a team had arrived on March 16 and had been sent into the drift.

"Unfortunately when the team deployed the small robot there was a cloud of smoke and whilst they were able to load it down from the big robot, they were unable to drive it. Its wheels locked and would therefore only turn in circles," an extract said.

Useful information such as temperature and gas levels were gained, as well as oxygen levels, the release said.

Prior to this, reports say some families from the Pike River disaster didn't know about the footage.

On Friday, over 13 hours of footage from the robot that entered the Pike River Coal mine in 2011 was released by police after a number of requests from family, and Official Information Act requests from media.

They say excerpts of the footage were played to family members of the 29 victims in July 2011.

Meeting notes were also released, which showed Pike River Coal company representatives discussed the robot entry.

"No information has been deliberately withheld by police," Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement said in a statement.

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