One dead and three missing after explosion in Turnhout, woman rescued from debris

Belgian media reports that the explosion in an apartment complex in Turnhout has fallen at least one dead. One of the four people who were still missing this afternoon was taken dead from under the rubble. The life of the other three is feared. The search will continue tonight.

A woman who was alive under the rubble was saved at the end of the evening. After the explosion, she had been trapped for more than ten hours, reports the VRT. Rescuers were in contact with her all day and earlier the head of the rescuers said they were โ€œstill giving her every chanceโ€.

Tunnel

The fire department wanted to dig a tunnel from the front of the building to get to her. At first, it was tried to reach her from the back, but there the risk of collapse was too great.

โ€œThe stability of the building is not good,โ€ said Mayor Van Miert. โ€œBut it is important that we move forward as quickly as possible to find potential victims. We have to remove one by piece, kibble per kibble.โ€

Van Miert called on the population not to set off fireworks tonight, also because the emergency services have their hands full on the rescue work.

See images of the damaged apartment building here:

Around 08.15 AM, part of the front and rear faรงade of the complex collapsed due to an explosion, probably caused by a gas leak. There is a chance that the roof will also come down. That makes the rescue work more difficult.

Ten people lived in the part that collapsed. It was initially unclear how many of them were present at the time of the explosion. In the course of the day, it turned out that a number of residents were at work or with friends.

One victim could be rescued quickly and was taken to hospital. According to the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, this woman is doing well. She had surgery and that went well.