The Beirut Government has denied any knowledge of underground shelters beneath the port area where the recent massive explosion occurred.
However, rescuers searching the area have found underground “Panic Rooms” that seem to be part of a labyrinth of below ground passages and chambers.
Apparently the chambers were built 20 years ago to provide protection in the case of an attack or “disaster” at the port.
Relatives of missing employees have a thread of hope that some may have escaped to the tunnels, although the Lebanese Army said yesterday there was little or no hope of finding more survivors.
Colonel Roger Khoury said yesterday “After three days of search and rescue operations we can say we have finished the first phase which involved the possibility of finding survivors. As technicians working on the ground, we can say we have fading hopes of finding survivors”
The blast happened so fast and so violently with the explosion of the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate ignited, it is sadly unlikely there are any survivors from the immediate vicinity of the blast.
Over 200 employees are confirmed as dead and over 6000 injured. Hundreds of employees are still missing.
Head of the French search and rescue team Colonel Vincent Tissier said “My group had worked non-stop for 48 hours from Thursday morning attempting to reach the control room where eight or nine port authority employees were thought to be trapped. Unfortunately, we did not find a single survivor. We have to date only recovered five corpses”
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