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One dead, two missing after German house blast

world Updated: Dec 12, 2010 19:00 IST

DPA
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One person was found dead while two other family members remained missing on Sunday after an overnight explosion collapsed a home near the western German city of Cologne.

It was not yet clear if the victim was a 45-year-old male resident of the house or his 47-year-old partner, doctors said. The man's daughter, 10, was also missing.

The man's 12-year-old son was rescued with injuries from the home, in the town of Bruehl on the outskirts of Cologne. Rescue workers had dug the boy out with their bare hands after search dogs located him.

Rescue dogs continued searching the site Sunday, as fire officers used heavy machinery to lift the rubble.

The explosion, which brought down the house late Saturday, was originally blamed on gas. But authorities have not been able to find any traces of gas.

Investigations were continuing into the incident. Mayor Michael Kreuzberg said it was probably an accident, but that nothing had been ruled out.

"So far it has been practically impossible to analyse the situation due to the unstable conditions," he said, adding, "We haven't given up hope" of finding more survivors.