A disaster like that which has happened at the Pike River mine is always difficult to cope with. The families of 29 miners have no idea whether their loved ones are dead or alive, or if alive, whether they can be rescued.
It is tempting to want to attribute blame, whether it be to the mining company, or to the rescue/recovery effort. And blame may eventually be attributed, after an inquiry, and I hope the one the Government has promised will be a genuine one that has terms of reference wide enough to cover all possible wrong-doing.
But for now, let’s not try to attribute blame. Let’s celebrate the heroism of one man, Daniel Rockhouse, who almost incoherent and barely able to walk from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, managed to drag his workmate Russell Smith out of the mine.
Without Daniel’s help, Russell Smith would almost certainly have died in the mine.
There will be a time for recriminations, for finding out who is responsible, and possibly criminally culpable, for this disaster. But that time in not now.
Now is the time to celebrate the heroism of Daniel Rockhouse whose brother is still trapped and possibly has died in the mine, but who risked his own life to save his mate.