Friday, 16 November, 2018

French rescuers find body in ruins of collapsed buildings

Two buildings collapsed suddenly not far from Marseille city centre Two buildings collapsed suddenly not far from Marseille city centre
Jeannette Daniel | 08 November, 2018, 17:11

Firefighters in the southern French city of Marseille said Tuesday they found a second body in the ruins of two buildings that collapsed a day ago.

The first building collapsed Monday morning and an adjacent building came down eight hours later.

He said that the chance of finding survivors was diminishing the longer the search continued, especially as the controlled collapse of a third building - which had been weakened by the initial disaster - had laid more rubble over the site.

Sniffer dogs were still searching through the 15-metre (50-foot) pile of wreckage on Rue d'Aubagne, a narrow shopping street which now resembles the scene of an natural disaster. Authorities said the vacant building had been deemed substandard.

Only one of the buildings was occupied, as the two others were in such a bad state that they had been condemned.

Castaner said inspectors had visited number 65 on October 18, and were concerned but did not see cause to evacuate.

The death toll is likely to increase as between five and eight people are missing, French interior minister Christophe Castaner said.

"Everybody knew about the problems with the two collapsed buildings", said Patrick Lacoste, a spokesman for a local housing action group.

More news: Soon, you'll have 10 minutes to 'unsend' a Facebook message

"It's been 10 years that I have been living here and I have never had anyone come and inspect my apartment", said a woman who identified herself as Sophie.

"The most important is saving lives", Castaner said at the scene.

"I haven't had any news", he said, wandering among the rescuers.

Marseille city authorities, who have evacuated and rehoused 100 residents from nearby buildings as a precaution, believe heavy rain may have contributed to the collapse.

"It's the homes of the poor that are falling down, and that's not a coincidence", said local lawmaker Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the left-wing France Unbowed party.

The buildings were in a small shopping street in the centre of the city.

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