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WATCH: Search moves to “recovery” at explosion site as no signs of life found

WATCH: Search moves to “recovery” at explosion site as no signs of life found

Sunday 11 December 2022

WATCH: Search moves to “recovery” at explosion site as no signs of life found

Sunday 11 December 2022


A search for survivors at the site of the Pier Road explosion which has claimed at least three lives has come to a close, and has now moved to a recovery operation, the Police Chief has said.

The three-storey Andium-run Haut du Mont apartment building was destroyed in a blast which was felt across the island shortly before 04:00 on Saturday, leaving fire and significant debris in its wake.

Police Chief Robin Smith said yesterday it was initially believed that up to 12 people were missing.

Assisted by specialist urban search teams from the UK who arrived by helicopter, and sniffer dogs, Jersey's Emergency Services worked through the night to survey the site, which was described as one of "utter devastation".

Video: Jersey and UK search teams worked overnight, assisted by sniffer dogs.

Mr Smith said that finding any potential survivors was the "number one priority".

However, this morning he confirmed in a statement around 08:20: "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.

"Disaster Victim Identification strategies are in place and specialist officers are surveying the scene with Fire and Ambulance Services and tactical advisors from Urban Search and Rescue."

UK rescuers pier road explosion

Pictured: The South West Hazardous Area Response Team, and the Urban Search and Rescue Team from Hampshire and Isle of Wight, were called in to help - they arrived yesterday afternoon and a second group later in the evening.

Fire Chief Paul Brown confirmed yesterday that officers had received a call related to concerns about a smell of gas in the area at 20:36 the night before and visited the area, but declined to provide more detail on any subsequent actions taken.

Mr Smith said that there would be a fuller investigation into what happened and that a senior detective had already been "deployed to investigate".

"It may be a criminal investigation, it may be a joint investigation," he said.

Robin Smith Explosion

Pictured: Police Chief Robin Smith said yesterday that an investigation into what happened was underway and a detective had been appointed.

Mr Brown said the emergency services had been "in dialogue with utility companies throughout the day."

Islands Energy Group – which is responsible for gas supply in Jersey – said it was "cooperating fully" with the Emergency Services to establish what happened.

So great was the impact of the blast that it was registered by British Geological Survey sensors three miles away, with a magnitude of -0.1 recorded.

Chief Minister Kristina Moore described the explosion – the second serious incident to hit Jersey in a week after a fishing boat collided with a Condor freight ship – as an "unimaginable tragedy".

Video: A press conference held yesterday with the Chief Minister and heads of the three emergency services.

She called on the community to rally together and support one another.

A minute's silence was held at football and sports games yesterday, and a candlelit vigil took place at the Town Church.

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