Three killed, several missing after explosion on island of Jersey

The search is ongoing and began after a building collapsed on the island.

 Rescue operation of migrants trying to cross the English Channel (photo credit: REUTERS)
Rescue operation of migrants trying to cross the English Channel
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Three people were killed and around a dozen others remain missing after an explosion early on Saturday morning at a block of flats on the island of Jersey, off the coast of northern France.

"We now have, I regret to say, three fatalities," Robin Smith, Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police, told a news conference.

The explosion occurred just before 0400 GMT and the fire has since been extinguished. Emergency services will continue to search for survivors through the night, Smith said.

How the explosion happened

He confirmed fire services had been called to the property on Friday evening before the explosion after residents had reported the smell of gas. He did not comment on the cause of the explosion, and said that would be subject to investigation.

Smith said a three-story building, located near the harbour in the island's capital St Helier, had completely collapsed.

He said 20 to 30 people had been evacuated and that two "walking wounded" had received hospital treatment.

 A cross channel ferry is seen in the English Channel (credit: REUTERS) A cross channel ferry is seen in the English Channel (credit: REUTERS)

Jersey is a British Crown Dependency with its own financial and legal systems and a resident population of just over 100,000 people.

The building where the explosion occurred is located near the harbor in the island's capital St Helier.