Bodies Found After Apartment Buildings Collapse In Marseille, France

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble

The two buildings, one vacant and the other housing apartments, collapsed on Monday morning.

Firefighters in the southern French city of Marseille said Tuesday they found a second body in the ruins of two buildings that collapsed a day ago.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner said eight people are missing from the building and that he was "not very optimistic" that they would be found.

Marseille city authorities, who have evacuated and rehoused 100 residents from nearby buildings as a precaution, believe heavy rain may have contributed to the collapse. The building had been the subject of an appraisal and work in October. Eight hours later, another neighboring building collapsed.

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.

People were living in the other building that collapsed, 65 rue d'Aubagne.

A completely flattened vehicle was dug out, an indication of the force with which the building came crashing down in what witnesses said was a matter of seconds.

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Fire officials deliberately brought down most of a third building due to apprehensions the unsteady structure might cave on top of search crews and sniffer dogs combing the rubble of the other buildings.

"It's been 10 years that I've been living here and I've never had anyone come and inspect my apartment", another local resident called Sophie told AFP.

Google Maps images taken in recent months showed the two collapsed buildings, in the working-class neighbourhood of Noailles, had large visible cracks in their facades.

"The most important is saving lives", Castaner said at the scene. "It is the houses of poor people that collapse - and that is no coincidence", he was quoted as saying by local media.

Marseille authorities launched a vast upgrade plan for the city centre in 2011.

According 2015, about 100 thousand inhabitants of Marseille, live in housing that threatens their health or safety.

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