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Bodies found, a decade after mine explosion

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(File photo) Flames burn from a ventilation shaft above the Pike River mine on November 30, 2010, where 29 miners are fatally trapped, in Greymouth, New Zealand.

NEW ZEALAND: More than a decade after a methane explosion killed 29 workers at a New Zealand coal mine, police said Wednesday they have finally found at least two of the bodies thanks to new camera images.

But authorities say the main part of the Pike River mine remains too dangerous to enter so they will not be able to recover the remains.

Police have been investigating the disaster for years, with some family members of the miners hoping they will eventually file criminal charges.

Police Detective Superintendent Peter Read said they had located at least two bodies and possibly a third after a camera was sent down a newly dug hole. He said the bodies were found at the far end of the mine, where methane levels remain high.

Read said imaging technology had improved markedly since the disaster, which helped them make the discovery.

He said they hadn’t yet been able to identify the bodies, although they were working with forensic experts to see if that was possible. He said they had previously identified the six or eight miners believed to have been working in that area at the time.

“This is only two days away from the eleventh anniversary of the mine explosion, and we’d like to acknowledge the families of all the men,” Read told reporters. “It’s a really stark reminder of the pain and the loss.” He said the discovery would help their investigation.

Read said police wouldn’t be releasing the images out of respect to the families and declined to describe the conditions of the bodies.


Friday, November 19, 2021 – 01:00

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