Sarah Champion MP: Didcot men 'could have been rescued'

Didcot Power Station collapse Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption The plant was set for demolition when it collapsed in February

A pause in the search for three men thought to have died in the Didcot power station collapse could have cost them their lives, an MP claims.

Four workers died when the Oxfordshire plant collapsed on 23 February.

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said five days after the collapse the search stopped for three weeks and the men could have been alive at this point.

Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive said the pause was so RWE Npower could prepare a rescue plan.

The firm said its priority had always been to find the men as quickly and safely as possible and recovery work was currently on hold because the building remained "unstable".

'People can come out'

Ms Champion, who represents two of the missing men's families, said their relatives could have been alive for weeks after the building's collapse.

She cited the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh in 2013, when 1,130 people died and about 2,500 injured people were rescued over a period of weeks.

She said: "What angers me is in those three weeks they might have been alive, and we're now three months on."

She said the emergency services had been "phenomenal" but "we know, when we've seen other disasters internationally, people can come out".

"If they'd carried on the search, if they'd not stopped after four or five days, would they have been found?"

Work to recover the men's bodies has been halted at a 50m (164ft) exclusion zone because RWE has yet to submit a demolition plan to the HSE.

The bodies of Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, have not yet been found.

The body of Michael Collings, 53, from Brotton, Teesside, has been recovered from the site.

The decommissioned Didcot A plant closed in 2013 and the men were carrying out work preparing it for demolition when it collapsed.

An RWE Npower spokesman said: "We understand that the time it is taking to recover these men is deeply distressing for their families."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Emergency service workers have been at the site in Didcot since the collapse

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