Service remembers Pike River miner
Sat, 01 Sep 2012 6:20p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
Hundreds gathered to farewell Pike River Mine victim Ben Rockhouse at a memorial service in Christchurch today.
He was one of the 29 men who died in the Pike River mining disaster nearly two years ago, and his family's still waiting for his remains to be returned home.
A song written in memory of 21-year-old Ben Rockhouse was performed to family, friends and miners at his old school, Avonhead Primary.
His parents, Sonya and Neville, say he will be remembered as bright, fun-loving and mischievous.
“Our beautiful, funny, sensitive, loving, caring, generous boy had been taken from us forever, and for what? Nothing,” says Sonya Rockhouse.
“Ben, you've been a wonderful son,” says Neville Rockhouse. “I love you and I miss you very much.”
Ben Rockhouse was one of 29 men who were working in the Pike River Coal Mine on the day of the explosion. The men's bodies still haven't been recovered.
“Until my dying breath, because no one has ever come to try and get you out, and that's damn right wrong,” says the miner’s father. “I will fight and continue to fight to try and get you guys home.”
His brother, Daniel, was also working in the mine at the time of the blast, but he managed to escape, dragging the only other survivor, Russell Smith, along the mine's tunnel to safety.
“I'm sorry this happened to you Ben,” says the brother. “I love you.”
Several months ago, Pike River's new owner, Solid Energy, announced that it's extremely unlikely the men's bodies will ever be recovered.
But the family hasn't given up hope, and is planning to hold a funeral when Mr Rockhouse's remains are returned home.
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2/09/2012 12:38:06 p.m.
Interesting! Despite what Solid Energy says Ben Rockhouse's body and the bodies of his 28 workmates are still recoverable according to statements made on this blog by US based underground coal mine recovery expert Mark Cummins.
Mr Cummins has publicly offered his expertise to NZ Mine Rescue authorities, Solid Energy and the families of the fallen yet not one representative from any of these groups have contacted Cummins to discuss his proposals!
When Mark Ford takes over at Solid Energy he will have the opportunity to make a real first impression by reviewing Solid Energy's position on the recovery of these men (and potentially the mine). Will he have the guts to do it?
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