Family of Scot killed in mining disaster call for accident zone to be reopened


The family of a Scot killed in a New Zealand mining disaster have urged bosses to reopen the accident zone after harrowing video footage emerged.

Malcolm Campbell’s parents have told how they have been forced to relive the horror of their son dying alongside 28 colleagues in a series of explosions.

Malcolm perished at the Pike River mine when two methane gas blasts ripped through the site seven years ago.

Emergency services could not reach the workers after experts said the area was unsafe.

A second blast happened four days later followed by other explosions days later.

But images of the accident area have revealed some victims were still able
to move. Video evidence has also shown that at least four bodies were undamaged in the tragedy.

Malcolm Campbell with is wife Jane Campbell and daughter Kerry have called for bosses to reopen the mine

Now Malcolm’s mum Jane, 52, says she fears her son, from St Andrews , could have been saved and has called on the government and owners to reopen the mine so victims can be recovered.

She said: “This is the first time this footage has been seen by the families. The guys who had the camera down the mine saw movement.

“The New Zealand government said they didn’t think it was relevant to let the families see this.

“One of the guys actually says about the movement, ‘Did you see that? That wasn’t us.’

“But when one of the families asked a government official about that, they were told they didn’t think it was relevant because it could have been water.

“The point there is that it could have been – but they didn’t know.

“We were always told that after the first blast that would have been it. But since hearing about the footage, stupid things go through your head. Were they hurt but alive? Did they suffer for four more days?

“I don’t know if Malcolm lived. I hope to God he didn’t. I know that sounds terrible but I wouldn’t like to think he suffered or lived for a bit longer, waiting for somebody to rescue him.

The family claim that they have been lied to after new footage of the tragedy emerged

“I can’t get my head round that thought at all.

“Mountain rescue were ready to go in and they wanted to but the police stopped them. I’m absolutely furious about it.

“It’s coming up for seven years since this happened and it makes me think what else is going to come out, what else are they hiding?

“The government have lied to us without a shadow of a doubt…the things they have kept back – it’s just been a big cover-up.”

The footage was leaked by an unknown source and was recorded shortly after the first explosion.

Jane and her husband, Malcolm Sr, are awaiting copies being sent to them by another family affected by the disaster.

They have vowed to fight for re-entry to the mine in a bid to get their son’s body back.

Jane added: “The footage shows pallets unburnt and they reckon they have seen at least four bodies.

“Originally, at the very beginning of this, I was quite happy for
Malcolm to stay in the mine because the other guys were there. But my mind has changed and I just want to get him home.

Pete Rodger was also trapped after the mine explosion in 2010

“I don’t think we will ever get closure. But I would like them to go into that drift and get any evidence they can. And, if there are any bodies, get them out.

“I want to know how and why it happened. It won’t turn back the clock but I would like answers.

“I think the government hoped it would get brushed under the carpet. But that will never happen.”

Fellow Scot Pete Rodger , 40, from Perthshire, was also killed.

The tragedy prompted vast changes in health and safety
regulations. But initial criminal charges against Pike River boss Peter Whittall were dropped when prosecutors said there was not enough evidence.

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