Missing Mother & Child in NSW Explosion Identified

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | September 4, 2014 4:51 PM EST

The blast in Rozelle, New South Wales on Thursday, Sept 4 left at least three people missing under the debris of a building that collapsed during the explosion. Two of the missing people have been identified.

One of the missing people is 31-year-old mother Bianka O'Brien whose one-year-old son is also missing. The mother and her child are believed to be asleep upstairs at the rear part of the store when the explosion took place. The other person, said to be a 30-year-old, is still unidentified. The explosion destroyed the apartments adjoining a convenience store. The blast, which took place at around 4 o'clock in the morning on Thursday, blew windows out from as far as 100m.

Rescuers, however, may not be in a position to look for the missing people as the walls in the buildings have every possibility to collapse. An Urban Search and Rescue task force is presently deployed at Darling Street. The task force is presently trying to chalk out a plan to use the walls of the buildings around the collapsed one for the search. The rescue team - which is made up of hazardous material technicians, ambulance specialists and trauma doctors among rescuers - is apparently going to use cameras to find out if there is any sign of life inside the rubble.

According to Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Paul Johnstone, a concrete slab which is dangerously hanging in the rubble is the obstacle for the rescuers to get inside. "Those cameras will be inserted into voids," Superintendent Johnstone said, "There is a collapsed concrete slab that's resting precariously but we will be able to get underneath that with our cameras to check for possible survivors."

Johnstone called the blast scene as "horrific" as rescuers are hoping that the missing people are still alive. In addition to the cameras, dogs are also being used for locating the three people who are reportedly missing. All the three missing people are apparently from neighbouring apartments. The father of the one-year-old child was not at home when the explosion shook the inner west of Sydney.

Darling Street is closed for Thursday. There is a possibility that it will remain closed on Friday as well.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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