Year later, New Zealand mine still holds 29 bodies

By the Associated Press | November 18, 2011 | 10:15 PM EST

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Some families of the 29 New Zealand coal miners killed in an explosion one year ago say on the anniversary that their grieving is not over because the men's bodies remain entombed inside the mine.

Authorities say there is too much deadly gas in the Pike River mine near Greymouth for crews to enter and recover the bodies.

But Bernie Monk, whose 23-year-old son Michael died in the explosion, said Saturday that he and the other families are frustrated there hasn't been a more concerted effort made to recover the bodies.

About 2,500 people, including New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, were expected to attend a public memorial Saturday in Greymouth, culminating in a minute's silence at 3:44 p.m., when the methane-fueled explosion occurred Nov. 19, 2010.