Joint Media Release - Pike River Recovery Agency / New Zealand Police
Tuesday 25 June 2019

The 30 – 170m area in the Pike River Mine drift has now undergone a forensic search by the Agency mining team, with the support and oversight of the New Zealand Police. 

“This is an area that was traversed on a daily basis from when the New Zealand Mines Rescue built the 170m seal in 2011, until 2016 when the seal was shifted from 170m to 30m,” Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson says. Significant dewatering infrastructure was installed in this area, to assist with the volumes of water running down the mine drift.  This includes two weirs, gabion baskets, concrete blocks and “grizzlies” that filter heavier material from water. 

“Because of this, there were no expectations that items of interest would be found in this area, and New Zealand Police have confirmed this is the case,” Mr Pattinson says.

Police described this forensic search as a useful exercise in basic scene examination processes for the Agency’s underground teams.

“We have a good system running, involving briefings and debriefings.  Police will remain on site in support of the Agency throughout the recovery project, and will continue to adopt an agile approach in the event of a critical find, such as the discovery of human remains.  This means that, in certain circumstances, Police will consider deploying staff into the drift before it is fully recovered by the Agency,” says Assistant Commissioner Tusha Penny.