Death toll in French apartment blast reaches 3; search over

International

A resident moves a boat away from a fallen three-story apartment building after it collapsed in a suspected gas explosion on southern France’s Mediterranean coast, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021 in Sanary-sur-Mer. French rescue workers dug out the body of a man but also pulled a toddler and the child’s mother alive from the rubble of the building that collapsed in a suspected gas explosion. Two other people are missing. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PARIS (AP) — French rescuers retrieved two more bodies Wednesday from the rubble of an apartment building in southern France that collapsed in a suspected gas explosion, bringing the overall death toll to three.

The local fire department said it called off the search since no one else was reported missing from Tuesday’s blast in the coastal town of Sanary-sur-Mer on France’s Mediterranean coast.

Construction teams started tearing down an adjacent building Wednesday, fearing that it too could collapse, according to fire department.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s blast, emergency workers heard a baby’s cries from beneath the rubble and dug out a child of around 10 months old and its mother. Both were hospitalized. The father was found dead by the baby’s side, authorities said.

Rescue efforts continued through the night, and two other bodies were found.

The cause of the explosion wasn’t immediately clear, but regional authorities said first responders noticed a strong smell of gas on arrival at the scene.

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