Toll From French Petrochemical Factory Blast Climbs to 25
The death toll from a massive blast which destroyed a petrochemical plant in this southwestern French city has climbed to 25, officials said Saturday, after three more bodies were found in the debris.
Rescue operations resumed just before 6:00 am (0400 GMT) Saturday after being suspended for about two hours while experts checked out a damaged acid tank to ensure that it presented no danger.
"There is no risk of another explosion... but an escape of nitric acid could result in the formation of a toxic cloud," a spokesman said earlier.
The tank was progressively emptied with engineers supervising the operation.
Around 400 firefighters had found a further two bodies overnight while one of scores of people hurt in Friday morning's blast died in hospital, a spokesman for the local Haute-Garonne region said.
Between 15 and 20 people were still missing and over 650 were in hospital following the blast, which residents initially feared was a terrorist attack similar to those carried out on targets in the United States last week.
Among those killed at the plant were workers, shoppers at stores adjoining the factory and a 15-year-old schoolboy.
The explosion was reported to be accidental -- TOULOUSE, France (AFP)
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