Didcot Power Station workers still missing three months on

MP Sarah Champion has described the ordeal being faced by the families of the three men trapped in the rubble of the collapsed Didcot Power Station as “obscene”.

Ken Creswell (57), from Clifton, John Shaw (61), from Kimberwoth and Christopher Huxtable (34), from Swansea, Wales have been missing since the plant collapsed on Februrary 23.

Writing in an online blog on Monday — three months after the collapse — Rotherham MP Ms Champion said she had never seen relatives of tragedy victims treated so badly.

She said: “The families of the missing men have behaved with dignity and grace throughout but they have been forced to put their grief to one side while they have had to battle with the authorities to get the search off the ground, be consulted and even be kept informed.

“The families are the victims just as much as their men. I find it obscene that these victims are having to fight every step of the way to be heard and respected. 

“I genuinely did not realise that corporations could treat people so badly.”

Site owner RWE Npower is due to start work on demolishing the rest of the building by using controlled explosives.

The firm said it would use a technique which would see the structure fall away from the existing rubble.

Ms Champion said delays in starting the rescue operation “ripped hope from the missing men’s families”.

She said: “Now, three months on, all the families have to hold on to is that their men will be returned home.  But even that is looking remote.  The search has stopped again. The area of the site that HSE felt could be safely searched has now been cleared. Nothing. 

“The families now have another agonising wait while the standing part of the structure is prepared to be brought down through use of explosives.”

A RWE Npower spokesman said contractors have now reached a 50m ringfenced exclusion zone around the standing part of the building which has been deemed unsafe for the crews to work in.

“Since the tragic accident at our Didcot site on February 23 2016, we have been doing everything possible to locate and recover the missing men, Ken Cresswell, John Shaw and Chris Huxtable as quickly and as safely as possible," she said.

“Our contractors have now reached the 50m safety exclusion zone, which is in place as the remainder of the structure is currently considered unstable. Sadly, this means that, until the remaining standing structure can be safely brought down, we have restricted access to the recovery area.  

“We understand that the time it is taking to recover these men is deeply distressing for their families, and we are in contact with them. Our absolute priority is to recover their loved ones as quickly and as safely as possible.”