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Police call off search for bodies of miners

New Zealand police have abandoned efforts to recover the bodies of 29 miners from a coal mine that was rocked by a series of |explosions in November.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad said it was too dangerous to attempt to find the bodies and he would not put additional lives at risk in the Pike River mine on South Island. Fire and volatile |explosive gases have barred entry for nearly two months.

“The likelihood of getting into the mine safely is unrealistic because it is too unsafe,” Broad said.

“In my view, it is time to focus on the living and to respect |and memorialise those men who have died.”

The 29 miners — including two Britons — were trapped after methane gas-fuelled blasts went off on November 19.

Police said last week that dangerous gas levels had again built up in the mine, prompting the evacuation of rescue workers from the site. Temperatures continued to reach as high as 212F (100C), and gas readings continue to be unstable.

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