Terror in Jersey: 5 People Dead After Gas Blast
Terror in Jersey: 5 People Dead After Gas Blast

The death toll in a 'gas' blast in Jersey has climbed to five tonight, as rescuers continue a 'painstaking' recovery operation which they say they expect will 'find more' bodies as they hunt for missing people.

Authorities on the Channel island say they are continuing to search the wreckage of a block of flats in St Helier which was destroyed in an explosion in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The State of Jersey Police says it believes 'four' residents are still unaccounted for more than a day-and-a-half after the devastating blast that flattened the low-rise apartment block. 

Rescuers have been braving near-freezing temperatures as they search for potential survivors, but no signs of life have been found and it has since become a 'recovery operation'.

Tonight police said the families of those who still have not been found are being supported by specialist officers, while equipment and police dogs have 'identified several areas of focus where possible bodies may be located'.

Robin Smith, chief of Jersey Police, said: 'The number of Islanders confirmed to have been killed in the blast is now five.

'There are still a number of residents, we are working on the assumption of four, that remain unaccounted for.

'Their families were made aware of this announcement before other Islanders. They continue to be supported by special officers.'

Speaking at press conference earlier, Mr Smith said specialist teams will continue their 'meticulous and painstaking search' of the area in St Helier and warned it is likely to be 'weeks' before investigations are completed.

Emergency services had been called to Haut du Mont flats just before 4am amid reports of a major incident. Locals were woken by what sounded like an earthquake as their houses shook and windows shattered after the three-storey building collapsed 'like a pancake', according to Chief of Jersey Police Robin Smith.

Many rushed from their homes to the street to see the blaze had lit up the night sky, the air thick with plumes of smoke billowing from the building - which had completely crumbled - and debris strewn across the street.

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