Two bodies were found by the rescue workers from the debris of the buildings that collapsed as a result of a powerful gas explosion in Marseille, the port city of France, CNN reported on Sunday citing the city’s fire department.
French authorities had said earlier that at least eight people were possibly trapped due to the explosion in Marseille. However, it remains unclear whether the authorities have included the two bodies found in their count.
Mayor Benoît Payan said that the building witnessed a violent explosion at 12:30am local time after which the rescue teams and authorities began their operations and the cause of the explosion.
French Housing Authority said that 179 people had been evacuated from the site, BFM reported.
While visiting the place of the building collapse, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told BFM that due to the fire burning in the debris, the rescue teams are facing difficulties in conducting their operation adding that “around 30 surrounding buildings have been evacuated.”
Darmanin also said, “Rescuers are also concerned about firefighting water endangering the lives of any buried survivors.”
The resident of the area noted that they heard a loud explosion after which dust could be seen in the air.
“It was exhausting and completely insane. I saw an avalanche of people panicking in the street and then I started running like crazy,” a witness told BFM.
Currently, it is impossible to pinpoint what led to the explosion said the Prosecutor of Marseille Dominique Laurens in a news conference on Sunday adding that “the situation has not yet been stabilised.”
“A gas explosion was one lead being examined but it was something we can’t confirm at this stage of the investigation”, she noted.
French President Emmanuel Macron while grieving the incident said: “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 mobilised.”
According to a BFMTV report, a fund of €100,000 ($110,000) has been provided to help the victims of the blast, according to the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis, with the money coming from regional authorities.
It also reported that the Marseille prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into “unintentional injuries.”
Such incidents are not the first time for the city. Back in 2018, a report from CNN said that several buildings collapsed in Marseille’s Noailles district in a similar incident.