Police release second batch of robot footage taken inside the mine to the Pike Families


Police have delivered a hard drive to the families of the Pike River 29 as part of an agreement to make all footage taken inside the mine available to them.

Police released 13 hours of robot footage today that was partially leaked at the start of the week.
Source: 1 NEWS

The footage was hand delivered this morning to Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her 21-year-old son Ben in the explosion.

This second release is in response to her Official Information request. Last week police released footage from the fourth robot to enter the mine.

The families deny that they were ever shown the footage, but police maintain 24 family members viewed eight hours of it in July 2011.

Sonya Rockhouse said, "I feel disappointment again, I thought this week they would finally release all of the footage to us. Why on earth is it taking so long?"

Police indicated last week they have until May 22 to release all of the video they hold, and the delays are due to the volume of video, privacy, and suppressions imposed during the Royal Commission.

The families haven't had time to watch all of the footage yet, but it includes video filmed by two army robots that entered the mine tunnel following the explosion.

Sonya Rockhouse has watched half an hour of it so far and said, "It shows the conveyor belt travelling right down inside the tunnel, which is amazingly clear, but there is one part of the belt where the metal appears bent".

Solid Energy released a statement saying today it "utterly rejected" claims were involved in any alleged cover-up of the footage". 

Solid Energy Board Chair Andy Coupe said the mine was not owned by Solid Energy at the time, and the company had "absolutely nothing to hide". 

He said there was nothing in the footage to show the mine was safe for re-entry. 

"Nobody, let alone media, politicians or other commentators with no mining expertise, can credibly assert from this footage that it proves that re-entry into the drift, let alone the mine itself, could be safely undertaken". 

The footage now has to be distributed to other family members.

On 19 November, 2010, 29 people died after an explosion at the West Coast mine.

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