Human remains found at Pike River mine

Source: 1News

Police on Wednesday afternoon announced body parts have been found at Pike River mine on the West Coast.

Pike River Mine

Twenty-nine men lost their lives in an explosion at the mine in November 2010.

The remains were found during current investigations at the mine's borehole.

In a media conference, Detective Superintendent Peter Read said images from the boreholes confirmed two bodies, with the possibility of a third.

However, Read said the bodies were located at the furthest area of the mine from the entrance and were not able to be recovered.

Police are now working with forensic experts to find a way to confirm the identities of the bodies.

He said it was not unexpected to find the bodies given police had been drilling into the boreholes in areas where they understood the miners were working at the time of the explosion.

Read said police knew there were six to eight men in this area of the mine and their identities, but could not confirm which of them the remains belonged to.

When asked why it had taken this long for bodies to be found in the mine, Read said the advancement of technology in the past decade had contributed significantly to their investigation.

"The quality of the imagery is really, really good compared to what we've had before so that is assisting us, it's been really helpful," he said.

"Old technology only allowed us to see five to 10 metres [through the cameras], while now we can see 40 to 50 metres."

Police will continue to explore the boreholes until the end of the year and Read said there was "a possibility" of finding more bodies while doing so.

Read did not wish to comment on the reactions of the affected families upon hearing Wednesday's news, but believed they would release their own statements.

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little said it was a "significant" discovery and could help authorities finally piece together what happened 11 years ago.

Little said the families of the victims had been carrying this burden for over a decade and was highly critical of the Pike River Mining Company.

"There were a lot of shortcuts taken, commercial imperatives took over and there’s no question in my mind that Pike River Mine Company was trying to get the quickest return on its investment knowing there was an incredibly difficult project to pull off," Little said.

"People have paid for those judgements and those misjudgements with their lives."