Search efforts for the three men killed in the Didcot power station collapse set to continue today when the remainder of the building is demolished.
Demolition workers Ken Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, South Yorkshire and Chris Huxtable, 34, from Swansea, were trapped under 20,000 tonnes of rubble when the structure unexpectedly crumbled on February 23.
Four people died in the disaster, but only one body, that of Michael Collings, 53, has been recovered so far. It is still unknown what the causes of the tragedy were.
A remote demolition will bring down the remainder of the decommissioned site shortly before 6am, in a unique operation that will make use of 10 remote-controlled robots.
Currently the building – which was due for demolition when it partially collapsed – is too unstable to be approached and a 50-metre exclusion zone was set up around what is left of the building.
Once the 11 plastic explosives attached to the structure are detonated and the site is considered safe, teams will be deployed to resume searching the remnants of the plant for the first time since May.
Roland Alford, who is the explosives contractor at the power station, said the four-month delay in completing the demolition was necessary on safety grounds.
He told the Press Association on Saturday: “There has been quite a lot of criticism about delays, questioning why it has taken so long to get to this point, but the fact is nothing like this has ever been attempted before and this is not a simple demolition.
“We have been working on it night and day since March and built up quite a sizeable team of very expert people to work on this, to come up with the charges, the methods of doing it and training.”
He added: “It was almost unthinkable to send people to work underneath there and place charges, given the fact the building could come down at any moment – you legally can’t justify that.”
Robots of a variety of sizes will carry out some of the work deemed to be too unsafe for humans, a number of which can be controlled remotely using a sophisticated camera set up.
Roads and trains will be halted in the surrounding area while the demolition takes place.