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Police destroyed 52 exhibits relating to Pike River mine disaster

Pike River Families watch on as three mine workers enter the Pike River Mine
The Pike River families watch on as mine workers re-enter the mine.

An investigation by a NZ Media organisation has revealed that NZ Police destroyed parts of self rescuers, an ESR Report, clothing and earplugs that were found following the Pike River Mine Disaster

According to NZ Newshub “police destroyed 52 exhibits that were found around the Pike River Mine after it exploded. “

Police say that the items had “no evidential value” would not have been suitable for use in Court but some family members of Pike River mine disaster victims say it “beggars belief”.  

Dean Dunbar, father of Pike River victim Joseph Dunbar told NewsHub “Publically, we want to know who gave the order to destroy all this evidence and we want to know why”

“So there were items there that were items of clothing which could have been the last point of contact for families with their dead children,” says Richard Healey, an investigator and Pike Families supporter.

NewsHub discovered images of items under the Official Information Act, that were destroyed less than five years after the tragedy.

The images revealed an “overall sleeve was found near the vent shaft.”

Police say the sleeve was cut, not torn, and had no signs of burning.

Families say that the exhibits from Pike River mine should have been DNA tested to assess who they belonged to and if there was any link to the tragedy

Bernie Monk, an outspoken member of the families group told NewsHub “Never even consulted on any of the things that they’ve found or any of the things that they’ve done. They’ve just told us nothing,”

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AMSJ April 2022