At least three dead and six people missing in Sicily gas explosion

A town in Sicily has been hit by a “huge tragedy” after a natural gas pipeline exploded and caused a massive fire on the evening of Saturday 11 December. At least three people have dies and six more are missing after two buildings collapsed in the Sicily gas explosion.

Guiseppe Merendino, the captain of the local firefighters, confirmed the fatalities and said that two people have so far been found alive under the rubble of the collapsed houses in Ravanusa, Sicily. However, firefighters are still looking for missing people believed to be in the houses when they collapsed around 8.30 pm on Saturday night. The missing people include two children and a couple who are expecting a baby.

In photographs taken at the scene there are huge piles of rubble than have been thrown from the blast sites and scattered over pavements and cars. Video footage in the local media shows the damaged buildings still alight as firefighter carry on searching for survivors of the Sicily gas explosion.

Filippo Barbera, a priest who was celebrating mass nearby on Saturday evening, said the houses caught fire when a natural gas pipe exploded. He said: “It is a huge tragedy… Let’s pray to ask God to avoid more deaths.”

There are currently around 250 rescuers at the scene including civil protection volunteers, using sniffer dogs and drones to advance the search effort.The fire was contained at 11.15 pm. Salvo Cocina, the head of Sicily’s civil protection unit DRPC, said an elderly woman was among those rescued from the rubble of one of the buildings and she was taken to hospital suffering minor injuries. Another woman, believed to be her sister, was also rescued from the debris of the Sicily gas explosion.

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Written by

Claire Gordon