Whittall misled Pike families, grieving mum says

Joanne Ufer, mother of Josh Ufer, who died in the Pike River mine explosion. Photo: RNZ/ Logan...
Joanne Ufer, mother of Josh Ufer, who died in the Pike River mine explosion. Photo: RNZ/ Logan Church
Eight years after the explosion that claimed the lives of 29 men, the mother of Pike River miner Josh Ufer says families were misled by the West Coast mine's boss at the time, Peter Whittall, following the first explosion.

Joanne Ufer says Mr Whittall gave family members false hope by telling them the men would be feeding off fresh air lines and there was a refuge for them, and he needs to be held accountable.

RNZ's Checkpoint video journalist Logan Church talked to Joanne Ufer and tracked down Mr Whittall in Australia. Watch his full video report here:

A director of the now defunct Pike River Coal company has also questioned why others did not face charges over the deaths of 29 men inside the Pike River Mine.

Stuart Nattrass said he did not believe re-entry was necessary or understand why people would want to go "into a tomb". He also questioned why Mr Whittall was the only one to shoulder blame.

Mr Whittall, who now is in charge of a rest home in Wollongong, New South Wales, has repeatedly declined to be interviewed.

 

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