A second body has been seen in footage shot inside the Pike River coal mine, according to the families of the victims.
Spokesman for the families, Bernie Monk, told the New Zealand Herald that the second body was found when footage taken from a camera lowered down a borehole was reviewed.
Police say they are “highly suspicious” that the figure seen is a body, and it is impossible to confirm without months of work.
Last week it was reported that a body was spotted inside the mine near the fire box, calling into question the findings of an expert who earlier in the year determined that the initial explosion would have been so great none of the men could have survived.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said then that the discovery of the body “changed little”, and it was still too dangerous to begin a recovery effort.
The discovery of what the families say is a second body has fuelled their determination to get a mines recue team into the mine to retrieve the bodies of their loved ones.
"It means they’re not incinerated,” Monk told the New Zealand Herald.
They’re there waiting for us to go get them."
The second body was found beside an opened equipment box, which had contained emergency equipment, away from where the first body was found, Monk said.
He said little detail was visible, but he was confident it was a man’s body.
He has called on authorities to meet with families to discuss options for entering the mine.
"The families are more determined than ever. We need mines rescue, maybe police and Government to sit round the table with us.
"The families are getting quite hostile and angry that nothing’s being done.
"We want them to sit round the round table. We want to know what else there is available to us."
Police Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls confirmed the shape from the borehole footage looked like a body, but said the image quality was poor and police would need to conduct electronic enhancement to confirm it was body.
It would take up to three months to confirm the find, Nicholls said.
"That image, in the vicinity of the three boxes, shows something that could be a body or possibly a number of things."
Nicholls said finding bodies inside did not change the fact that Pike River is still too dangerous to enter.
"While clarification of the images may help the investigation it is our understanding that under present conditions the mine is unsafe to enter."