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Firefighters still hopeful they can find survivors 48 hours after Marseille building collapse

A firefighter walks near the scene where a building collapsed, in Marseille, southern France, April 10, 2023.
A firefighter walks near the scene where a building collapsed, in Marseille, southern France, April 10, 2023. Copyright Bishr El Touni/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Bishr El Touni/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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Six bodies have now been found in the rubble following an explosion that collapsed a building in the southern French city of Marseille on Sunday.

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Firefighters were continuing their search last night in the hope of finding survivors almost 48 hours after a building collapsed in the centre of the southern French city of Marseille following an explosion.

On Monday, rescue workers found a sixth body in the rubble of buildings in Tivoli Street in the port city, with two people still missing.

"We continue clearing and searching in hope of finding victims. That's it, we're still looking, we're still hopeful," said Commander Pascal, head of the rescue operation.

Two residential buildings were destroyed in the explosion which caused a third to partially collapse. Rescue efforts were hampered by a fire which was continuing to burn on Monday.

Five people from neighbouring buildings sustained minor injuries and some 200 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Residents in areas adjacent to Tivoli Street are waiting for experts to assess the "condition of the buildings" and if it is safe for them to return home.

"We came back to get our stuff because we don't know how long it will last. It could last a week,” said Richard Lelong who lives in a parallel street.

It is not yet known what caused the explosion, but investigators are looking into the possibility that it could have been from a gas leak.

The public prosecutor's office in Marseille has opened an investigation for "involuntary homicide" and the city’s mayor ordered all flags on official buildings to be lowered to half-mast.

On Monday evening, the Cardinal Archbishop of Marseille, Jean-Marc Aveline, presided over a prayer vigil in Saint-Michel church close to the scene of the explosion.

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