Pike River emergency presser - Peter Whittall
Wed, 24 Nov 2010 5:40p.m.
By 3 News staff
Pike River CEO Peter Whittall has addressed reporters following the second explosion at the mine.
Mr Whittall is unable to say for sure how the explosion occurred but he did reveal that gas samples from the bore hole drilled today were showing 95 percent methane.
He said he was confident the explosion had not been caused by the actions of the rescue team.
"This has come from somewhere up in the mine, we weren't doing anything in the mine. Absolutely confident the measures taken up there by the rescue teams were absolutely correct. Nothing has been done to cause this. It is a natural eventuation that could have occurred on the 2nd day or the 3rd day."
This volume of gas was strong enough to cause a big explosion.
He said it is "extremely unlikely" that anyone survived the explosion.
Mr Whittall was at the mine when the explosion occurred.
"If the men are no longer alive we still want them back, the family will want them back. But we can't go into an unsafe mine. it's just as unsafe as it was two hours ago."
Mr Whittall then spoke about informing the families, He said telling the families was very hard - "they've looked to me for hope, they’ve looked at me to keep them informed".
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25/11/2010 10:58:58 p.m.
Margaret Doyle wrote:
May I first offer my sincere sympathy for the deaths of members of your team-those you fought so hard to rescue. I guess that the most important thing I want to convey is that you always used inclusive language at every turn (hugely impressive) because under pressure people revert to type so for me it identified what a genuine man you are. In the face of adversity and the ridiculous questions you were sometimes confronted with by the media you remained calm, collected and to my knowledge NEVER once lost your cool. I am embarrassed by some of the questions you were asked by media -inappropriate and indeed offensive. To look to blame and having to defend decisions when you were trying to get your men back to their loved ones, the rest was unimportant. Peter sometimes the questions were so DUMB at times I wanted you to be cynical- How were the families? - well they are playing poker and are high on dope. OK silly response. So that is a huge part of how well you handled yourself and the situation. You have been in our homes and I and many others are totally humbled by your handling of a very difficult situation. For me I can't think of your men as 29 it seems to devalue them men as one-They are individuals and each man has his own importance, his own story - it is not a numbers game. Each of those men were one person to you, with one family - you portrayed that. It was great to see your family with you at the Press Briefing and I guess that was another thing that made you real for the citizens of NZ and afar. I don't have a wisdom to make hurt go away - what I do have is that those who have gone to their own God/maker (whatever their belief may be)are OK. The pain is only for those left behind.Peter, this is the first time in my long life that I have ever done anything like this - I felt compelled. Going forward no matter what happens you have endeared yourself to us and we will support you. May your good God support and bless you and yours on the journey.
25/11/2010 7:48:13 p.m.
margaret Stowe wrote:
i am a manager in a small business and my heart goes out to you. What a situation to face and as a manager who gets the blame when something goes wrong!! I can for never a minute imagine how tough it is for you. I so admire how you have been there all the time and advocated for your staff and their families. what ever research says a true manager cares genuinely about their workers. While my sympathy lys with these families I also admire your commitment and strenght for your staff. you are a wonderful person and we need more of this in our world.
25/11/2010 4:23:43 p.m.
Lynn traecey/ Dennise Dale wrote:
Peter u are an amazing person, your energy and knowledge was amazing,to stand by those families and friends, workers for so long,I am glad to have such a special nephew.What a sad day, special hugs and prayers.lov Lynn xxx lismore lov to your family. Grief has stages.xx
25/11/2010 7:59:50 a.m.
Our thoughts are with you Peter and your family. What a great leader to keep so calm when having questions fired in all directions by reporters. Take care and keep on giving support to all of the families. I had a ancestor killed in the Brunnerton mine so I do know what happens to a degree in the mines.
24/11/2010 11:14:43 p.m.
To Mr Peter Whittal,
I would like to give you my deepest sincere, It brought great sadness every time I saw you through the media. One could not imagine or feel what you have been going through.
24/11/2010 10:38:08 p.m.
Suzy Anderson wrote:
Peter, I just want tell you what an amazing job you have done in keeping the the public of New Zealand and the world informed as events have unfolded and how proud we are of your courage and patience at such a stressful time. I hope you are able to get some rest in the days ahead and can find peace in the knowledge you are doing all you can.
24/11/2010 10:04:00 p.m.
my heart goes goes to u u have done a owesome job mate, xxx
24/11/2010 9:41:54 p.m.
I would like to add my admiration for the calm and professional way you conveyed each step of the last terrible days. The image of you speaking to the People of this Country and the World in such a caring and heartfelt way will remain in a lot of our minds in the coming days. The people of the West Coast are very fortunate to have you speaking on their behalf. God Bless you, and our heartfelt sympathy to everyone involved. Thankyou
24/11/2010 9:36:05 p.m.
Logan Kimber wrote:
Peter Whitall has done an amazing job of handling this tragic situation. I have nothing but respect for this man. Much love for everyone involved, particularly family and friends of the lost miners. RIP.
24/11/2010 9:10:22 p.m.
Peter, you have done a wonderful job coping with all this. You have been so calm on the outside while this must have been tearing you up on the inside! Congratulations on your handling of the media. While all NZ wanted to know what was happening, I have no idea how you stayed so patient in the face of some of the stupid questions that were thrown at you. Well done and I hope you too can begin to find some peace and closure now
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