Europe

Portugal deadly fireworks blast hits family

Emergency workers at the site of a fireworks factory, in Avoes, Lamego, Portugal on 4 April Image copyright EPA
Image caption There were reports of three explosions at the factory on Tuesday

Six people died and another two were missing after an explosion on Tuesday evening destroyed a fireworks factory near the Portuguese town of Lamego.

The victims all worked at the plant 100km (62 miles) east of Porto.

The factory's owner was among the dead and several members of his family were either dead or missing, said local mayor Francisco Lopes.

Some of the victims were found outside the factory, apparently propelled from the building by the force of the blast.

An initial explosion happened shortly after 17:30 (16:30 GMT) on Tuesday, followed by two more blasts, reports said.

Five bodies were found late on Tuesday and emergency workers found a sixth victim some 200m (650ft) from the site, minister Jorge Gomes told Portuguese media. The search was being extended to a radius of 800m, he added, because of the scale of the explosion.

The factory was described as a family business.

As investigators tried to identify the victims, the mayor said that almost all of the eight caught up in the blast were members of Egas Sequeira's family. Mr Sequeira was among those feared dead along with one of his daughters and a son-in-law, Portuguese media said.

The owner's wife had left the building just before the explosion and survived but two other family members were among the missing.

Officials were initially unable to enter the site because of the potential risk to their safety. Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was due to visit the scene on Wednesday.

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