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NZ families abandon quest for mine explosion bodies

WELLINGTON -- The grieving families of 29 men killed in a New Zealand mine explosion 18 months ago said Wednesday they were abandoning a campaign to recover their loved ones' bodies.

The families had demanded the retrieval of bodies entombed in the Pike River Coal mine since November 2010, when a series of methane explosions ripped through the remote South Island colliery.

But the families' spokesman Bernie Monk said Wednesday they had reluctantly concluded that reaching the bodies was not feasible and trying to do so was too risky.

“We don't want anyone to lose their life trying to get our men out and we don't want other families to go through the hardship and the pain that we've been through over the last 18 months,” he told the TV3 station.

Monk said they decided to drop the campaign after a meeting Tuesday night with a company which is buying the mine.

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