Malcolm’s return hinges on ballot

Malcolm Campbell from St Andrews is one of 29 still missing from the Pike River Mine disaster in New Zealand.
Malcolm Campbell from St Andrews is one of 29 still missing from the Pike River Mine disaster in New Zealand.

The body of a St Andrews man, killed in a New Zealand mining disaster, could finally be recovered seven years on from the tragedy, depending on the outcome of the country’s general election.

The family of Malcolm Campbell, who perished along with 28 of his colleagues at the Pike River mine when two methane gas blasts ripped through the site in 2010, have been promised by the opposition Labour Party in New Zealand,that they will seek to recover the bodies if they win control in Saturday’s ballot.

“It’s the lifeline we have been hoping for and fighting for for the last seven years ,” the miner’s father, Malcolm Campbell Snr told the Citizen.

“My wife Jane always believed we would bring Malcolm home but I’ll be honest, six months ago I was resigned to the belief that our son would remain in New Zealand.

“It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions but our hopes, and those of the other families, rest on the outcome of the election, we desperately hope Labour win.”

Mr Campbell Snr said he had been given assurances from party officials that if the election went their way a new agency would be set up within the first 100 days in office that would take control of the mine form the owners – Solid Energy – which has gone bankrupt since the disaster happened.

“There has been a plan on the table for the last four years which would involve unmanned technology entering the drift and assessing the situation,”Mr Campbell Snr explained.

“Experts are confident the plan would be a success.”

The previous operators of the mine, Pike River Coal were found guilty in 2013 on nine charges of breaching safety standards and were ordered to pay £60,000 to each of the victims’ families and fined £430,000.

However, the fine was never paid and families only received £2850.

“We’ve faced years of lies, corruption and cover ups because the mine was not being run safely.

“Hopefully this will help us to finally bring Malcolm home.”