Belgium: Up to 20 injured, several trapped as building destroyed in Antwerp


ANTWERP: Belgian emergency services rushed to the scene of a building explosion on late Monday, with up to 20 injuries and some people left trapped under the rubble in Antwerp.

The blast, which occurred on Paardenmarkt Street, also damaged three other buildings at around 9.30pm local time on the busy street, said local police. The entire front of the complex appeared to have completely collapsed on to the street, whereas the ground floor of the building was a pizza restaurant, with three storeys of flats above.

At least seven people were rescued from the wreckage and more are feared trapped.

Police said the incident is not terror-related and could have been caused by a gas leak.

Search and rescue operations are ongoing.

Antwerp Police tweeted: “Four people were released from under the rubble.

“Emergency services have contact with three people who are still under the rubble. They are conscious.

“There is rapid work in extremely dangerous conditions.”

Dozens of police, fire and ambulance vehicles have lined the street and a crane was also brought in.

Belgium has been on high alert since deadly suicide bombings in 2016 and a wave of Islamist attacks across Europe.

However, police said the blast was not thought to be related to terrorism rather an explosion could have been caused by a gas leak.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross sets up a large tent on the spot.


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