24 Dec 2010

Families will be taken up to mine on Christmas Day

5:07 pm on 24 December 2010

Up to 60 family members of those killed at Pike River will be taken up to the mine for Christmas - closer to their missing men than many will have been before.

The coalmine's general manager, Doug White, says the mine remains a hazardous area, but he is hoping to take the families to the White Knight bridge, which is about 80 metres from the mine mouth.

Police plan to ferry the families in minibuses close to the mouth at about 8am or 9am on Christmas Day, and a police chaplain is expected to hold a short service of remembrance.

Meanwhile, the GAG machine at the mine has been shut down for repairs.

The modified jet engine has been used for the past four weeks to put out a fire inside the mine.

Police say the machine has been stoped to allow repairs and maintenance. They say gas levels inside are fluctuating but not of particular concern.