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Tomorrow it will be exactly one year since the Pike River mine tragedy on New Zealand's West Coast which claimed 29 miners and contractors employed by the company. They went to work in the morning and have never come home! An explosion ripped through the mine filling it with methane and other poisonous gases. The men wouldn't have survived the blast, let alone three more during the next few days. Children still cry for their fathers and widows still mourn for their men.
The whole country was stunned by the tragedy which was played out on television into the lounges of the nation. We all wanted rescuers to get into the mine and rescue the men, but knew it wasn't a reality under the circumstances. But why haven't the bodies been recovered, a year on? That's another story. A Royal Commission of Enquiry is under way to establish the cause of the tragedy. It will be a very emotional time for the families tomorrow! Please read the following news story below:
"A monument to the 29 men who died in the Pike River mine will be unveiled in Blackball on the West Coast today.
Most of the families of the miners are expected to attend the service as part of International Workers' Memorial Day.
The men died last November after a series of explosions at the coal mine.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says it will be a day for people to reminisce and spare a thought for those loved ones who are still in the mountain, not far from Blackball.
President of the Council of Trade Unions Helen Kelly will also be at today's service and said the tragedy highlights a deeper problem with workplace safety.
"The Pike River mine was open for only a year before it exploded killing 29 people including a 17-year-old boy, and having a service in Blackball serves as a poignant reminder to us all of the tragedy of workplace accidents," she said."
- Some have said the Pike River mine was an accident waiting to happen. Others say the mine should never have been allowed to happen.