Up to eight feared dead in Marseille building collapse

Authorities fear more people may be trapped under the rubble

A fifth body, that of a man, has been found this morning in the rubble of buildings that collapsed two days earlier in the center of Marseille.

The two buildings, one apparently vacant and the other housing apartments, collapsed on Monday at 9am local time (9pm NZT).

In Marseille under the rubble of destroyed houses found the bodies of three victims.

Rescuers formed a human chain to remove the debris, stone by stone.

A completely flattened auto was dug out as rescuers worked to shift the rubble, an indication of the force with which the building came crashing down in what witnesses said was a matter of seconds.

The first victim - a man who had yet to be identified - was pulled from the wreckage Tuesday, said prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux.

"We still have hope, even if that hope is fading. There could still be air pockets", a senior rescue official said.

Authorities said one building had been condemned as substandard and was assumed to be unoccupied, but the other was inhabited.

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Google Maps images taken in recent months showed the two collapsed buildings had large visible cracks in their facades.

"It's been 10 years that I have been living here and I have never had anyone come and inspect my apartment", said a woman who identified herself as Sophie.

"The most important is saving lives", Castaner added from the scene.

Abdou Ali, 34, came in search of his mother after she did not come to collect her youngest son from school on Monday afternoon.

The neighbourhood is home to many buildings in a similarly dilapidated condition, some of them run by slum landlords. "It is the houses of poor people that collapse - and that is no coincidence", he was quoted as saying by local media.

The buildings were in a small shopping street in the centre of the city.

According 2015, about 100 thousand inhabitants of Marseille, live in housing that threatens their health or safety.

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