New Zealand police find human remains in disaster-stricken mine after 11 years

WELLINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Human remains have been found at a coal mine in New Zealand, police said on Wednesday, more than a decade after one of the country’s worst industrial disasters.

In November 2010, a methane gas-fired explosion in the Pike River mine off the west coast of South Island killed 29 men. The two men managed to escape.

The mine was closed and access denied for years for security reasons. The researchers finally got in in 2019 after a call from the relatives of the miners.

Police said photos taken during the deep drilling of the mine late last week confirmed two bodies, and a third chance. However, the remains were far from the mine entrance and could not be returned.

“While we have not been able to identify the remains, we are working with forensic experts to find out what we can do to verify their identities,” said Police Chief Peter Read.

Investigators believe six to eight people worked in the area where the remains were found, he added.

Report Praveen Menon; edited by Jane Wardell

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