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No blast damage in new Pike footage

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/06/2017

More video footage has emerged from Pike River, with the lack of apparent fire or blast damage sparking another call for a re-entry effort.

It appears to show glasses that may have belonged to Ben Rockhouse, one of the 29 men killed in the explosive 2010 underground coal mine disaster.

"New Zealand has been told there's nothing but ashes and dust down there, they've been told that the drift can't be made safe to enter and investigate," his mother Sonya Rockhouse said in a statement on Sunday evening.

"That's just not true, my boy is down there and if pallets and paper are intact then so is his body."

The footage was taken by a camera lowered down a 126-metre bore drilled about a month after the explosions and into the deepest part of the West Coast mine.

It was recently released to families and broadcast by Newshub on Sunday. Wooden pallets and rubber hoses appeared to show no fire damage.

"The video clearly confirms absence of fire damage. The stability of the mine at that location also does not appear to have been compromised," coal methane expert David Creedy told Newshub.

Ms Rockhouse said if the government hadn't kept the footage from families for six years experts would have entered the mine's drift, or entrance shaft, by now.

"[Prime Minister] Bill English needs to stop trying to hide from this... He needs to let our experts work with mines rescue to enter the drift and find out what happened down there."

At the end of April, re-entry calls hit the headlines when footage from a robot showed men working in the drift without sparking any blast.

However, Mr English has ruled out re-entry, relying on expert advice that it is too risky to go into the potentially explosive methane-filled drift.

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