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Police confirm situation has changed to recovery mission following Jersey explosion

Police confirm situation has changed to recovery mission following Jersey explosion

The search and rescue operation had been moved to a recovery operation

Police have confirmed at least three people have died and around a dozen are still missing after an explosion in a Jersey block of flats.

The rescue operation has since been refocused to recovery after emergency services worked through the night, suggesting none of those missing are likely to be found alive.

Robin Smith, chief of police, said on Sunday morning (11 December): "It is with sadness that I am confirming that the search and rescue operation had been moved to a recovery operation.

"The decision was made after a detailed assessment and following the use of specialist K9 units."

The scene of the explosion in St Helier, Jersey.
PA Images

An explosion occurred at the Haut de Mont three-storey block of flats on Pier Road in Jersey's capital St Helier in the early hours of Saturday morning, causing the building to collapse.

Initially it was announced that one person had died and around a dozen were still missing. But yesterday, island's chief minister Kristina Moore announced that at least three people had lost their lives in the tragic incident.

She also explained that the flats were run by Andium Homes, which is said to be working to make sure the residents who have been displaced will have somewhere to stay.

Speaking at a press conference, Moore added: "Through these difficult times, I think it’s reassuring for everyone to see what amazing strength we have within our emergency services.

"And, again, we just thank everybody who stepped up and came to the rescue and continue to work on the scene.

"This is going to take some days and we will keep everyone updated and fully informed and we will do our very best to ensure everybody is properly looked after."

Onlooker Daniel Hunt captured the scene as it unfolded.

When asked about how many were missing, she replied: "Given the destruction of the building it is hard to properly assess the numbers.

"We are looking in the region of around a dozen currently, but you will appreciate also that number could fluctuate."

Although the cause of the explosion is yet to be confirmed, Smith previously said fire services attended the scene that night after a report of the smell of gas.

States of Jersey Police has warned people to stay away from the residential area as it continues to respond to the incident.

In its latest update, shared yesterday afternoon, the force wrote: "As the search at Haut du Mont has progressed, pockets of fire have been discovered. The site remains highly unsafe.

States of Jersey Police has been sharing updates on the incident.
Twitter/States of Jersey Police

"A South West Hazardous Area Response Team are on site and will be joined by an Urban Search and Rescue Team from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service."

It also announced a support line for those seeking information about family members who may have been affected by the incident.

The numbers are 0800 753 5566 (freeline) and 01534 445566, with Jersey police urging to 'call these numbers and not the police 612612'.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: UK News