Pike River mum ‘unashamedly cried’ after human remains found

Source: 1News

Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son Ben in the Pike River mine explosion, says she "unashamedly cried" when police told her more remains had been found, which could be those of her son.

Twenty-nine men lost their lives in an explosion at the mine on November 19, 2010.

Police said on Sunday remains of up to three men had been found in the "westernmost extremities" of the West Coast mine thanks to imaging from a bore hole.

Two probable human remains had been found and there is one set of possible remains, Detective Superintendent Peter Read said.

READ MORE: More human remains found in Pike River mine

He said five men were believed to be working in that part of the mine when the explosion occurred.

Rockhouse told 1News she felt "sad" some of the remains "could be and probably" are her son Ben's. Her other son, Daniel, had managed to escape.

"In some regards we are lucky to know exactly where they are, some people may never know where their men’s remains are. It’s kind of the good with the bad."

Rockhouse said she had hoped investigators would not find images of Ben, as staying a "little bit distant" from the tragedy was the easiest way for her to cope.

"To remain distant is the way I’ve found to deal with it."

Police had offered to show her the imaging footage, but Rockhouse said she had declined for now as she is "still trying to process the fact there is footage".

She said it was a "little bit difficult" and a "bitter pill to swallow" that the miners' bodies could not be retrieved, even though families knew when the bore hole programme began — which they pushed for — it would be the case.

"It is very sad and I am very sad about it but that’s just how it is."

Rockhouse said her "ultimate goal" was to see prosecutions.

"I hope there is a prosecution at the end of it and that there’ll be a few people in court sitting before us having to answer to the charges."

With Ben "lying in the cold, dark ground" for 11 years, Rockhouse admitted she was starting to forget what his voice sounded like.