Pike River families feel 'vindicated' after remains found

Source: 1News

Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton died in the Pike River mine explosions 11 years ago on Friday, says families feel "vindicated" and "enormous pride" after the first human remains were discovered on Wednesday.

The milestone comes after a long fight from victims of the 29 men who died to re-enter the West Coast mine and get justice for those killed.

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

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

While Osborne told Breakfast host John Campbell on Thursday the bodies wouldn't have belonged to her husband who worked at the opposite end of the mine to where the remains were found, it was still a big moment.

"We do feel vindicated and there's an enormous amount of pride that goes with this John because we have fought so hard, and as you said, 29 men - they don't go to work, get killed and people walk away scot-free," she said.

"We really need to know the answers as to why this happened, we need justice for the families, you know, we haven't heard the truth yet so it's really important that we get as much information as possible so hopefully the pieces that are starting to fill this jigsaw puzzle can eventually, maybe, we could get a prosecution out of it - my fingers are crossed for that, John."

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

Read said police knew there were six to eight men in the 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.

Meanwhile, Osborne said the Family Reference Group and families continue work to better the way victims are treated in tragedies.

"We're helping rewrite books and that on just what can we do? What went wrong at Pike? How the victims were treated and how can that be improved?" she said.

"We want to leave that, sort of, legacy for our men and that's what we're doing.

"We deserve better, New Zealand's record in the workplace is shocking, you know, the amount of death, the unnecessary death in New Zealand is just unacceptable."