Jersey tower explosion: Search and rescue operation ends with a dozen people still missing | UK News
Rescuers searching for survivors of an explosion at a tower block in Jersey no longer expect to find anyone alive.
Robin Smith, chief of police, said: “It is with sadness that I am confirming that the search and rescue operation had been moved to a recovery operation.
Three people are confirmed to have died in the explosion on Saturday morning and around a dozen are still missing.
Firefighters, specialist rescue teams and dogs worked through the night to find survivors in the debris of the block in St Helier.
The extent of the devastation was evident in video footage posted to Twitter by the Jersey government, which showed piles of rubble, crushed cars and a blown-out window in a neighbouring building.
Police described the scene at Haut du Mont on Pier Road as one of “utter devastation”.
Mr Smith said that the tower block had “completely collapsed” and “doesn’t even look like a building” after the “very, very significant explosion”.
‘Too early to speculate’ about cause
The fire service was called to the building at around 8.30pm on Friday night, hours before the blast, after residents reported smelling gas.
When asked what could cause such a “ferocious” explosion, Paul Brown, the chief fire officer, said there were “many different potential causes”, but it was too early to speculate.
Residents who lived in the flats have been moved to St Helier Town Hall, where they continue to be supported.
Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” by the incident and commended the work of the emergency services response, adding: “We stand ready to support in any way we can.”