Father pleads to NZ government not to seal up the mine where his son died

A FATHER whose son perished in a New Zealand mining disaster has pleaded with authorities not to seal up the entrance.

The Pike River mine disaster claimed the lives of 29 people. Picture: Iain McGregor-Pool/Getty Images

Malcolm Campbell, 56, from Fife, says that he hopes the mine is never sealed up until all the remaining bodies are recovered from the site of the Pike River disaster.

The 2010 Pike River mine disaster claimed the lives of Mr Campbell’s 25-year-old son, also called Malcolm, and 28 of his colleagues following a gas explosion.READ MORE: Family of New Zealand mine disaster victime a step nearer to justice

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Now the late Malcolm Campbell’s parents are urging friends and relatives of those affected to protest against moves by the New Zealand authorities to seal the mine with a 30-metre-thick plug of concrete which would put an end to any future recovery missions.

The Campbell’s say they have accepted that Malcolm’s body will never be recovered because he was located too far up the mine at the time of the blast, but they still want to support families whose loved ones’ bodies could yet be salvaged.

The New Zealand government say that the state-owned mine needs to be sealed up as soon as possible in order to prevent the leakage of vast quantities of deadly methane which is still contained inside.

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Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Campbell from Fife said: “The only way we could get closure for Malcolm is to bring him home, but we have accepted that he will never be recovered because he was the furthest up the mine.

“But the fight goes on. All the other families over there know we back them and if we could be there with them we would. If we can get even one person out, or hold someone accountable, the fight will have been worthwhile.”

State-financed Solid Energy, the mine’s current owners, have said they aim to have the mine sealed up completely in the early part of 2017.