Pike river mine re-entry delayed

News 02/05/2019

Andrew Little announced on Thursday there has been a setback with the Pike River Mine re-entry due to elevated oxygen levels at the far end of the drift.

The minister described the elevated levels as "unpredicted and unexplained," and because of this, the mine will not be entered.

Dinghy Pattinson, Chief Operating Officer of the Pike River re-entry effort spoke with Stephen McIvor, sitting in for ryan Bridge today to explain what convinced them to delay the re-entry.

He described the processes and steps involved in the re-entry and that elevated oxygen levels led to the decision to delay the re-entry until the source was discovered and the issue resolved.

Stephen spoke with Dean Dunbar, father of 17 year old Joseph who lost his life in the mine. When asked how he was feeling today with the delay Dean told Magic Talk how he had made arrangements and plans to go to the mines Thursday afternoon but they have decided to wait.

We'll wait and pick our time to go there.

Dean told Stephen how it was "disappointing, but it's just something you learn how to deal with." When asked if the re-entry and delayed efforts had the effect of bringing the loss all back Dean could only say "Yeah."

You never look forward to going to your son's gravesite

Dean said, "It's where Joseph is and we need to make that as special as we can as soon as we can."

Dean was very supportive of the re-entry effort and the team in charge there, and believes they know best how to run this operation. He said, "nothing should ever stand in the way of the job these guys are doing."

It's just another hurdle that we'll climb over

Stephen wanted to end the interview on a positive note and asked Dean if he remembered any of the good times with his son Joseph. He recalled "running down the hallway, of our house when we were happy as a family and the video footage of that we have and the pictures and just the way that Joseph was."

The way Joseph was, he was a little character

Dean remembered how Joseph "was someone that wanted to jump in with the big guys." At one emotional point Dean needed to pause and before continuing.

I just miss my boy. Very, very much. I really do.

Finally Dean said "it is very important that we do the right thing by our children."

You can watch the full interview above.