PARIS – French rescuers exhumed the body of a man, but also pulled a toddler and the child’s mother alive from the rubble of a three-story building that collapsed on Tuesday in an explosion of suspected gas on the Mediterranean coast of southern France. Two other people are missing.
The child, who is believed to be 18 months old, was located by sniffer dogs and extracted by rescuers who pushed their way through the giant pile of debris, said fire captain Aurelia Mannaioni.
The child was sent to hospital for treatment of injuries, she said. The child’s mother was also rescued and hospitalized in serious condition, she said.
The body of a man in his 30s was found in the rubble, Mannaioni said. She said the man was likely the child’s father, but could not immediately confirm his identity.
The search continued for two more people missing in the nighttime explosion in the coastal town of Sanary-sur-Mer, Mannaioni said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion, but regional authorities said first responders noticed a strong smell of gas upon arrival at the scene.