18 Nov 2011

Family wants remains of loved one to stay in mine

5:03 pm on 18 November 2011

The relatives of a miner killed in the Pike River disaster say they are happy for his body to stay underground. However, other families say it is frustrating their loved ones' remains have not yet been recovered.

However, other families say it is frustrating their loved ones' remains have not yet been recovered.

Saturday marks one year since the first explosions tore through the West Coast mine, killing 29 men.

A service is being held in Greymouth to mark the anniversary.

Janet Holling, the sister of Richard Holling who died in the mine, says her mother and sister will travel from Christchurch to Australia, where she lives, so they can all spend the day together.

Ms Holling says she understands why other families want the remains of their loved ones returned, but she wants her brother to stay under the mountain.

"We'd like Richard to remain where he fell, where he was taken from us. Richard expressed his wish to be buried in the heart of the West Coast bush and to us that is exactly where he is. We think it is a little akin to desecration to remove him."

But Anna Osborne, the wife of Milton Osborne, she doesn't want to give up hope that the remains can be recovered.

"I haven't had a memorial service for my husband because I feel if I do I have given up on getting him out. To be 12 months on, and still basically be at square one has been really hard to handle."

And the son of a miner who died in the disaster says a year on from the disaster he thought he would have a grave to visit.

Kurt Dixon's father Alan Dixon was 59 when he died. Mr Dixon says work to re-enter the mine is frustratingly slow.

"It is frustrating because every time they go to do something, something breaks, or goes wrong, or the weather's not right. Things have to be done properly and you don't want any more lives lost but it's hard to think that men can go to the moon but they can't go down a hole to get 29 men out."

Sonya Rockhouse had two sons who worked at the mine, one of them, Daniel, managed to escape but the other son, Benjamin did not.

She says any attempt to resume mining at the site should not go ahead until the bodies are recovered.