Two killed and 40 injured after building explosion in Antwerp

Belgian rescuers found two dead bodies early Tuesday at the site of a powerful suspected gas explosion in the port city of Antwerp that also injured 40 people, police said.

The blast late Monday, which police say is not linked to terrorism, collapsed or severely damaged several buildings in the Paardenmarkt area of central Antwerp, a Dutch-speaking city in northern Belgium.

"Police confirm two more victims found under the rubble, both deceased. The victims have not yet been identified," Antwerp police said on Twitter.

An explosion ripped through buildings in Antwerp on Monday nightCredit:
Ann Sophie Van Triel/Twitter

Several people were pulled alive from the rubble on Monday night.

"Research into the cause of the explosion at Paardenmarkt continues," it added.

Firefighters inspect a collapsed buildingCredit:
Dirk Waem/AFP

Belgium’s French-language broadcaster RTBF reported that a gas leak was suspected as the cause of the blast at around 9:30pm Monday, though it had yet to be confirmed.

The collapsed building is believed to be a pizza restaurant with residential flats above.

Police and rescuers are on the sceneCredit:
 Sigrid Vermeulen

Belgium has been in a state of high alert since high alert ever since Brussels was hit by three co-ordinated suicide bombings in March 2016 but Antwerp police quickly announced that the blast was not part of a terror attack. 

 

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