THE MILITARY is being drafted in to help with efforts to recover the bodies of three men killed in the Didcot power station collapse more than three months ago.
Demolition workers Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and Chris Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, have been missing since the disaster in Oxfordshire on February 23.
Work on the recovery operation was halted two weeks ago when contractors reached a 50-metre exclusion zone and site owner RWE npower said it had come to a point where it was too dangerous to continue searching.
It had been suggested a controlled explosion may be used to bring the rest of the building down before a renewed recovery operation.
Thames Valley Police said the Home Office and Ministry of Defence have approved the deployment of military aid “following a request by the multi-agency strategic coordination group in line with military aid to civil authority principles”.
The provision of military equipment as well as soldiers will help speed up the process of recovery, police said.
In a statement the force said: “The MoD will be providing equipment and personnel working with Thames Valley Police to support RWE the site owners, Brown & Mason their principal contractors and Alford Technologies their demolition specialists to prepare for the remaining structure to be brought down safely. This will expedite the recovery work.”
Police said it is an “absolute priority” to recover the missing men and return them to their loved ones, and to discover why the collapse happened.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence said: “The Army is providing specialist support to the multi-agency recovery operation following a request from Thames Valley Police, who are leading the operation.”