November 30, 2022

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France: A building collapses in the south, 5 people “probably” in the rubble

“Three people were taken out, two men and a woman, one of whom was rushed to hospital,” Capt. Aurelia Mannayoni, who coordinates firefighters’ communications at the scene, told AFP.

The search continues to find five people still believed to be trapped, he added.

AFP reporters noted that the three-story building, located between two creepers in the port of Sanari-sur-Mer, was nothing more than a pile of rubble.

In the remains of the upper floor, a coat rack with clothes and a shopping bag is still visible, and two dog teams and teams specializing in rescue missions or working tirelessly to find survivors in a dangerous environment.

“We do not think there were many people in the building,” Sanary-sur-Mer Daniel Alsters told AFP by phone, referring to firefighters “bringing a woman alive from the rubble”.

War State said it “detected a strong odor of gas when emergency services arrived at the scene” and cut off gas supplies around the perimeter of the building.

Police at the scene said the blast occurred around 3:50 a.m. and was heard around five miles away.

“I woke up with a terrible explosion and my bed shook,” retired Simon Montant, who slept in a nearby apartment, told AFP.

“The origin of the explosion is unknown”.

The building is located on the Mediterranean coast in the port of Sanari-sur-Mer, which has a population of about 15,000.

About 70 firefighters have been mobilized for the operation and they have received reinforcements from the neighboring department Bouches-du-Rhône. The province has set up an operational center to coordinate activities.

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“Colleagues at the site investigated the neighborhood and estimated that five people may have been under the rubble, but this is imaginary. It is not known if these five people were actually there when the building collapsed.” Sanari-sur-mer.

“The origin of the explosion is unknown, he continued. People heard a huge surge.”

The AFP reporter noted that two buildings located on either side of the building destroyed by the blast were damaged by the blast.

The provincial council said at least one of them had been evicted.

The last worst building collapse in southeastern France collapsed on November 5, 2018, when two substandard buildings in the city center killed 8 people.