PARIS: Rescuers have found two bodies in the rubble of a building that collapsed in an explosion in France’s Marseille on Sunday, CNN reported citing the city’s fire department.
Earlier, French authorities said eight people were missing, possibly trapped, CNN affiliate BFMTV reported. However, it is not clear whether the figure includes the two bodies that have been found. A “violent explosion” occurred at around 12:30 am (local time), Marseille Mayor Benoit Payan said.
A search and rescue effort has been launched as authorities are carrying out an investigation to find the cause of the blast. According to rescuers, the French Housing Authority said 179 people have been evacuated from the site. A fund of 100,000 euros has been provided to help the victims of the blast, CNN reported citing Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis.
Local residents said there was an explosion with lots of dust and a smell of gas in the air.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said rescue efforts are getting affected by a fire burning within the rubble, BFMTV reported. Darmanin further said that approximately 30 of the surrounding buildings have been evacuated.
Marseille Prosecutor Dominique Laurens said that it was “impossible” at this stage to determine the cause of the explosion as “the situation has not yet been stabilized.” She further stated that a “gas explosion” was one lead which was being examined, as per the CNN report. However, Dominique Laurens added that it was “something they can’t confirm at this stage” of the probe.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said that his thoughts were with those who have been affected, as per the news report. He said, “Thoughts with Marseille, where a building on rue Tivoli collapsed last night. I am thinking of those affected and their loved ones. An investigation is continuing with significant resources deployed. Thank you to the firefighters and rescuers mobilized.” (ANI)