Didcot power station: Recovering bodies to take 'many weeks'

Police and fire service at Didcot site Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Emergency services have been working together at the scene of the collapse

Recovering the bodies of the victims of the Didcot power station collapse is a "very complex operation" that will take "many, many weeks", police have said.

One person died and five were injured at the decommissioned power station on 23 February. Three are still missing.

Assistant Chief Constable Scott Chilton added that the victims' families had returned home after visiting the site.

A four-minute silence was held at demolition firm Coleman and Company's sites across the UK.

A spokesperson said it was "a sign of respect to our men, their families, friends and work colleagues".

Npower said it still did not know how the collapse happened and would not speculate.

Updates on this story and more from Oxfordshire

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Michael Collings died when part of the building at Didcot power station collapsed

Thames Valley Police said the site remained "highly unstable" but that emergency services were continuing to work closely together to establish the best way to recover the bodies.

ACC Chilton said: "It is now one week since this major incident occurred.

"I know that this makes it particularly difficult for the families involved, as they await the recovery of their loved ones. Our priority remains to return them to their families and we continue to support the families as needed."

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Recovery teams are searching a pile of rubble which is 9m (30ft) high

Chief fire officer Dave Etheridge said: "I believe the emergency service teams working on site are the best in the world and know they are using their experience and expertise to the limits."

Will Hancock, chief executive of South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I would like to thank the many SCAS staff who attended the incident at Didcot A Power Station last week and who triaged and treated over 50 casualties, before taking five people to hospital.

"Our Hazardous Area Response Team has remained on site since the collapse and we continue to provide support to the recovery teams carrying out their difficult task."

Image caption The fire service said it was working with structural engineers and demolition experts at the site

In a statement Coleman and Company said: "It is now one week since this terrible accident and I would like to express our deep sorrow at this heartbreaking time for our colleagues, and their families and friends.

"Nothing can prepare you for, nor are there words to express, our devastation at the events of the last week.

"All our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who have died and are still, tragically, missing.

"At this time, our over-riding priority is to support those families affected by this terrible incident."

It described the scene as an "unprecedented and hugely-challenging environment".

Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption The ambulance service treated more than 50 casualties after the collapse

Part of the decommissioned Didcot A plant collapsed a week ago as it was being prepared for demolition.

One person, named as Michael Collings, is confirmed to have died. The cause of the collapse is unknown.

Five others injured in the incident been discharged from John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and are expected to make a full recovery, the company said.

A search operation involving sniffer dogs, listening devices and a thermal imaging drone continues as rescuers try to locate the missing workers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Part of the decommissioned plant collapsed a week ago as it was being prepared for demolition

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