TWO Scots families are among grieving relatives of 29 men killed in a New Zealand mine blast two years ago to have been offered fresh hope of recovering their bodies.
Global mining experts and government officials have discussed how to safely re-enter the Pike River mine after an explosion ripped through it in November 2010.
Malcolm Campbell, 25, of St Andrews, and Pete Rodger, 40, from Perthshire, were killed in the accident in November 2010 and their bodies, along with 27 others, have remained trapped.
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The risk of triggering explosions has so far prevented attempts to recover their remains.
But the meeting, which included 21 mining experts from around the world, has left relatives confident they will eventually be able to hold proper funerals for their loved ones.
Bernie Monk, a spokesman for the families whose son was killed in the incident near the town of Greymouth, on the South Island, said: "We've come a long way. While it's probably going slower than the families want, we just want to do everything right.
"We're all sort of on the same page ... there are just a few items that we have to cover yet, and I think we'll eventually get there. It's just a matter of ticking all the right boxes as we go along."
He added that having experts from Australia, the UK and New Zealand all meeting for the first time proved to be very beneficial.
The parties have agreed to continue assessing two potential methods of exploring the main entry tunnel, known as the drift.