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Didcot power station collapse: Military to help search teams

Didcot Power Station collapse Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Demolition work was taking place at the plant when it collapsed in February

The military are to help the search for the bodies of three men killed in the Didcot power station collapse.

Four workers died when the boiler house at the Didcot A plant partially collapsed on 23 February.

The Home Office and Ministry of Defence (MoD) has now approved the deployment of military aid to support the work, Thames Valley Police said.

The force said the MoD would provide equipment and personnel which it claimed would speed-up the recovery.

The MoD said it had provided a remote-controlled vehicle and trained military operators "to assist in clearing hazards and taking the remaining structure down safely".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The cause is being investigated jointly by police and the Health and Safety Executive

Site-owner RWE Npower previously announced plans to bring down the rest of the "unstable" building by a controlled explosive demolition, but said a plan was still being worked on.

Meanwhile, work to recover the men's bodies has been halted because contractors have reached a 50m (164 ft) exclusion zone.

The length of time it is taking to recover the bodies of Christopher Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, has previously been criticised by some family members.

Labour MP for Rotherham Sarah Champion also branded it a "national scandal".

Image copyright AP
Image caption The cause of the collapse is being investigated jointly by police and the Health and Safety Executive

Thames Valley Police said: "Our absolute priority remains the recovery of the missing men so they can be returned to their families and to understand what caused this tragic incident."

The force added specialist officers were continuing to support the families and were "providing them with daily updates on the progress on this work".

The decommissioned Didcot A plant closed in 2013 and demolition work was taking place when it collapsed.

The cause is being investigated jointly by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

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

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