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Authorities confirm 12 dead in Texas fertiliser plant blast

Police would not say how many people are still missing although one estimate says it may be as many as 60.

Aerial photo shows the remains of a nursing home, left, apartment complex, center, and fertilizer plant, right, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas
Aerial photo shows the remains of a nursing home, left, apartment complex, center, and fertilizer plant, right, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas
Image: Tony Gutierrez/AP/Press Association Images

RESCUERS IN TEXAS sifting through the rubble of homes destroyed when a fertiliser factory exploded in a massive fireball have so far recovered 12 bodies, an official said today.

Approximately 200 other people were injured in Wednesday’s blast in this small town outside Waco, Jason Reyes, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a news conference.

Fifty homes were destroyed, while teams have searched 150 homes and have another 25 to go, Reyes told a press conference.

“We are still in a search and rescue mode,” Reyes said. Until now officials had refused to release a firm death toll, saying only that it was between five and 15.

Reyes did not say how many people might still be missing, but Senator John Cornyn told reporters that as many as 60 people were unaccounted for, but suggested some of them could be simply staying with friends and relatives.

Investigators continue to treat the blast site as a crime scene, Reyes said, although the authorities have said the explosion may have been caused by a fire at the West Fertiliser plant.

The town has a population of about 2,800 and is about 80 miles south of Dallas.

The blast came with the entire country already on edge after Monday’s attacks on the Boston Marathon that left three dead and 180 others wounded.

The people of West gathered last night to hold vigils for the dead and injured in the blast.

© AFP, 2013

Earlier: Firefighters seek colleagues’ bodies as search for Texas bodies continues

Video: Moment of blast at Texas fertiliser plant captured on camera

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