'Long delay' in recovering dead miners

Recovering the bodies of two Scottish miners, among 29 presumed dead following an explosion in New Zealand, may be delayed for months because of toxic gas levels, a British High Commissioner has admitted.

Pete Rodger, 40, from Perthshire, and Malcolm Campbell, 25, from St Andrews, were among the men missing after a blast on Friday, at the Pike River mine in Atarau on the country's South Island. There was a second explosion on Wednesday, which police do not believe anyone will have survived, and rescue teams are "now in recovery mode".

Vicki Treadell, British high commissioner to New Zealand, has met the parents of both the Scottish miners after Mr Campbell's mother and father, Malcolm and Jane, flew in from Scotland.

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She said: "As you will imagine emotions are high and run deep and people are fragile as a consequence of hopes being dashed."

Speaking about retrieving the bodies of the Scottish miners, she added: "They (Mr Rodger and Mr Campbell's parents] also understand the degree of difficulty in even achieving that possibility because - until the environment in the mine is stable and people can safely go in and therefore not risk the loss of further life - it may be weeks before we know whether or not that is possible and it may be months before it can be executed."