Two dead and three missing in an explosion in a building near Antwerp: the King will visit the site on Friday

Two people lost their lives in the explosion of a building in Hoboken (Antwerp) on Thursday morning, local police said. Three people were seriously injured and two suffered minor injuries.

A strong explosion blew out the upper part of a building located in the Antwerp district of Hoboken on Thursday morning, Antwerp firefighters said.

Het Laatste Nieuws reports this Thursday around 6 p.m. that a second person was found dead in the rubble. There are still three people missing. Three people were seriously injured and two suffered minor injuries.

This afternoon, Bart De Wever, president of the N-VA, informant and mayor of Antwerp, visited the site. This Friday, it is King Philippe who will travel.

The public prosecutor’s office, the Explosive Devices Removal and Destruction Service (Sedee), the technical and scientific police laboratory as well as an investigating judge, a forensic doctor and a fire expert visited Thursday afternoon at the scene of the explosion.

The investigation into the causes of the explosion is still ongoing and the police are currently refusing to comment on the subject.

A crane is currently working to remove the roof, to allow firefighters to enter the rubble safely. The security perimeter was widened for the occasion.

Other apartments were also evacuated for security reasons. They will have to spend the night elsewhere, the city offers them night accommodation.

A missing mother and child

The medical response plan was triggered to coordinate medical assistance. Firefighters are also deployed en masse to secure the premises but the work is difficult due to the instability of the building. Emergency services are asking people around the building to remain completely silent so they can hear potential survivors in the rubble. “We assume there are still people inside“, says Ninke Neirynck, spokesperson for the Antwerp fire brigade. “Our first objective now is to locate and release these people.” According to HLN, four people are still not found, including a mother and her child.

Specialized equipment was brought to the scene to safely remove the roof from the building. Rescuers are currently using a drone to take aerial images of the destroyed building.

The building is very badly damaged“, declared the spokesperson for the Antwerp fire brigade. “It is a three-story building, the last two of which were largely destroyed. The whole structure is unstable.

According to initial findings, the surrounding buildings were not too damaged.

The prosecutor, the laboratory and the fire expert also present on the scene

The prosecutor, the investigating judge, the forensic laboratory, the medical examiner and a fire expert were also present at the scene of the explosion in Hoboken Thursday afternoon. Police say this is all to ensure the safety of emergency services as rescue operations continue.

The investigation into the exact cause of the explosion is still ongoing. For the moment, police have not wanted to disclose the direction the investigation is taking. “Above all, we do everything we can to create a safe environment for our fellow citizens.” said the police.

Firefighters are standing by, along with climbers and aerial workers, to continue the search from the sky. Crane work on the roof has not yet started and the affected building is not yet stable, firefighters confirmed.

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