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Indian-origin family among victims of UK blast

The police and emergency services are continuing investigations into the cause of the blast, but have ruled out terrorism.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2018 18:31 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
United Kingdom,Leicester,Mauritius
Members of the emergency services move debris at the site of an explosion in Leicester, Britain on February 25, 2018. (Reuters)

An Indian-origin mother and her two sons who migrated to the United Kingdom from Mauritius are among five people killed by an explosion in the east Midlands city of Leicester, which demolished a ground floor shop and their flat on the first floor.

The police and emergency services are continuing investigations into the cause of the blast, but have ruled out terrorism.Five people were confirmed dead while five more were taken to hospital, one of whom is in a critical condition.

The victims, including the three of Indian-origin, have been listed officially as missing. They are members of the Ragobeer family, Mary, 46, Shane, 18, and Sean, 17, Shane’s girlfriend Leah Beth Reek, 18, and Viktorija Ljevleva, 22, who was working in the shop.

Mary’s third son, Scotty, 15,survived the blast. Her husband Jose, 58, was at work at the time of the blast.

Building owner Hardeep Singh said the Ragoobeer family moved into the flat around a year ago: “I called Jose after I heard about the blast. He was at work and he was safe, but I don’t know about the rest of the family. There was a gas boiler in the flat, in the bathroom at the back of the property, and a gas cooker,” he said.

A police statement on Tuesday said: “Human remains relating to five people have been recovered from the wreckage but given the devastation caused by the blast and subsequent fire, it may be some considerable time before the bodies can be formally identified.”

Jose’s brother-in-law, Krishna Rungen, 69, told the Mirror that Scotty was pulled from the rubble by a passerby: “She (Mary) and her husband worked hard to make a nice life for themselves and their sons here in the UK.

“Scotty has said the family were watching television when the next thing he knew, everything went black and there were bricks flying around him. He couldn't hear anything. He said he was lying down trapped and screaming for help when somebody reached in through the rubble and grabbed him. They managed to dig him out and get him to hospital, but he doesn’t remember much more.”

The police and local authorities held a community meeting on Monday evening to provide an update on their response to the incident. Approach roads around the site of the incident remain closed.

Matt Cane of the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have all been left shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible events...The search of the explosion is best described as dynamic and challenging.”

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 18:31 IST