Nov 6, 2018 – The bodies of two men and one woman have been found in the rubble of two buildings that collapsed in the city of Marseille, firefighters have confirmed.
French authorities continue to search for survivors in the aftermath of a devastating collapse at around 9am on Monday local time.
Public prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said up to eight people might have been buried, and now the local fire brigade has confirmed three bodies have been found.
Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse. Local residents said the building was old and dilapidated.
A spokesman for the Marseille Firefighters said a man’s body was recovered, in addition to the bodies of another man and a woman they found earlier.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who visited the sight this afternoon, said “air pockets” under the debris meant there’s “hope to locate and find someone that can be saved.”
Some 120 police officers and 80 firefighters took part in the rescue effort, working through the night in the pile of beams and rubble, Castiner said.
One of the buildings was vacant and the other was an apartment block.
Fire officials deliberately brought down most of a third building due to concerns the unstable structure might cave on top of search crews and sniffer dogs combing the rubble of the other buildings. The late afternoon demolition released more dust clouds.
Authorities said one building had been condemned as substandard and was assumed to be unoccupied, but the other was inhabited. The government’s housing minister, Julien Denormandie, said at the scene he couldn’t rule out that people were trapped in the collapse.
“It’s a race against the clock,” Denormandie said. “The urgent task is to determine whether there are people we can save.”