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Three bodies found in rubble of collapsed buildings in Marseille

08 November 2018

Prosecutors said the bodies of a man and woman were found separately Tuesday under the 15-metre (50-foot) pile of rubble on Rue d'Aubagne, a narrow shopping street which now resembles the scene of an quake. Local authorities do not exclude that the number of victims will grow.

French rescue workers are seen near rubble after buildings collapsed in central Marseille, France on November 5, 2018.

"We are continuing our work in the hope of finding survivors", Charles-Henri Garie, head of the Marseille fire service, told BFM TV.

Of the three buildings that collapsed, two had already been condemned and were uninhabited, but questions are being asked about why the third had not yet been renovated, repaired, or evacuated. It was not immediately clear why they collapsed, or how many people the apartment building housed.

Authorities said they were looking into what caused the collapse.

Images of the buildings before they collapsed, visible on Google Street View, showed that one of the buildings was clearly in poor fix, with boarded-up windows and large visible cracks on the facade before it collapsed.

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Local media reports said at least two passers-by were injured in the accident. "It's hell here. and now people die for nothing", he said. The buildings suddenly collapsed on Monday morning.

"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.

A spokesman for the Marseille Firefighters told The Associated Press that a female body was recovered, in addition to a man's body they found earlier. Noailles, in the central 1st arrondissement has several dilapidated buildings, some run by slum landlords.

But a 2015 government report said about 100,000 Marseille residents were living in housing that was risky to their health or security. The disaster, he added, was "100 percent the fault of city hall".

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said five to eight people were missing - five residents and three others who may have been visiting people in one of the buildings.

Three bodies found in rubble of collapsed buildings in Marseille