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Jersey explosion death toll rises to five with four more people feared missing

todayDecember 11, 2022 12

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Jersey explosion death toll rises to five with four more people feared missing

Five people are confirmed to have died following an explosion at a block of flats in the Jersey capital.

States of Jersey Police gave an updated death toll on Sunday evening as specialist teams continued the recovery operation on Pier Road, St Helier.

The force estimated that four more people are also likely to be recovered from the wreckage of the three-storey Haut du Mont residential block, which was destroyed in the blast at 4am on Saturday.

Police chief Robin Smith 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.”

Mr Smith told a press conference earlier on Sunday that the search had moved to a “recovery stage”, which is likely to take “weeks”.

Mr Smith added it “looks likely” that the blast was a gas explosion, but this has not been confirmed.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore told reporters that the wider community of Jersey has been “immensely shocked and saddened” by the incident and the government had been “overwhelmed” by their “offers of support”.

Jersey chief fire officer Paul Brown acknowledged that something had gone “horribly wrong” and his service will be “co-operating fully” and “transparently” with investigations into what caused the blast.

Mr Brown earlier confirmed that firefighters had been called to the building at 8.36pm on Friday and had carried out investigations after residents reported smelling gas – just hours before the blast.

Specialist teams from other parts of the UK, including the Isle of Wight and Hampshire, have been drafted in to aid the response.

Andium Homes, a state-owned but independent company which rents out thousands of properties on the island, said it is focusing on supporting residents at the estate.

Gas supplier Island Energy said it is working with the fire service to “understand exactly what has happened”.

A candelit vigil was held for those affected by the tragedy at the nearby Parish Church of St Helier on Saturday night, and a note had been left on a noticeboard reading “give strength to those families who’ve been lost this week”.

Associate Rector James Porter said the incident had had a “profound” impact on the community, particularly because it came days after three fishermen went missing at sea off the west coast of Jersey.

Speaking at the church, Mr Porter, 48, told the PA news agency: “The church here is right in the heart of the town and just a few hundred metres down from where the tragedy happened.

“This has affected the community in a profound way.

“It’s a very small community in Jersey, and lots of people know lots of people, so there are lots of links.

“I think following on from the tragedy with the lost fishermen earlier in the week as well, it’s been hard for people to digest.”

L’Ecume II – an 18-metre wooden fishing vessel – sank five miles west of Jersey after colliding with the freight ship Commodore Goodwill at around 5.30am on Thursday.

Searches for the three men on board, including the captain who has been named in reports as Michael “Mick” Michieli, were called off at sunset on Friday.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by: admin

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