7 died in bunkers on Black Saturday

 7 died in bunkers on Black Saturday

8 September 2009

published by www.abc.net.au

Australia — The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission will hold a closed hearing for the first time today as it investigates how seven Victorians died inside bunkers on Black Saturday.

They will be the first deaths to be examined as the commission begins to explore the circumstances surrounding the deaths of all 173 people killed on February 7.

It is understood those people who perished inside the bunkers were in three different locations across the state.

Closing the hearings is not a decision chairman Bernard Teague takes lightly but it is being done in order to respect the wishes of surviving family members.

Abridged versions of the evidence are likely to be released later.

The commission will eventually take evidence relating to the deaths of all 173 people killed.

It will not be conducted in the same way as a coronial inquest, but the information gleaned will be available to the coroner and could avoid the need to have a number of inquests.

Decisions about closing future hearings will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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