Pike River families move to recover bodies

Pike River disaster victims' families are tired of waiting and have started their own action towards recovering the 29 bodies in the mine that exploded a year ago.

A project engineer is being engaged who will review plans to reclaim the mine, in New Zealand's South Island, and recover the bodies.

The "confident" prediction that the 2.3 kilometre tunnel would be ventilated and accessible by Christmas, given by the statutory mine manager Steve Ellis, was not going to happen, counsel for the families, Nicholas Davidson QC, said today.

He was speaking in Greymouth outside the royal commission hearing into the disaster.

The mine is in the hands or receivers.

"We have got to realise one year on we have got nowhere," families spokesman Bernie Monk, who lost his son in the explosion, said.

"How about these people stepping aside and letting our men get in and get these people out?"

The tunnel had been accessible for six months and people wanted to go in, he said.

Mr Davidson said they hoped to get private funds, including money from a general trust, and donated services to recover the remains of the 29 miners, who include two Australians.

No one was talking to the families about the mine process, so they had to make their own judgment about it, he said.

"As you heard on the 19th of November, a year on, the sense of grief and frustration is enormous, Mr Davidson said.

The majority of families were behind the move, he said.

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