Six dead and two missing after horrific explosions in Lamego firework factory

Rescue workers are conceding there is “no hope” for the two people still missing from the horrific explosions at a Lamego fireworks factory yesterday that have resulted in six confirmed deaths – the majority of them from the same family.

The horror has shattered the rural community of Avões which literally felt the earth rumble at 5.30 pm when the first explosion let rip.

Witnesses described “a boom that felt like an earthquake”.

Local Benjamin Simões was one of the first to the scene, to see a nightmare spectre of “burnt bodies scattered across the scorched ground and a trail of destruction”.

According to reports, family members and employees were loading a consignment of rockets into a vehicle when “the whole lot exploded”.

Today, as rescue teams continue sifting through the devastation, CMTV reports that one body appears to have been projected 200 metres.

Nuno Sequeira, president of the nearby parish of Penajóia told reporters that “there were many explosions”. One followed another, he said, saying he counted “more than a dozen”.

“I knew straight away that it was a huge tragedy”.

With names and family connections now being revealed, PJ police remain on the ground trying to establish what exactly happened and why.

According to reports, the little factory run by businessman Egas Sequeira (already confirmed among the dead) was fully licensed, and at a peak of production in readiness for Easter.

Sequeira has been described as a “very careful man” when it came to handling explosives.

He had been in charge of the factory for the last decade, said CMTV, while sister news organ Correio da Manhã reports that prime minister António Costa has already been in touch with the mayor of Lamego to offer his condolences, and say that the government is prepared to help in “whatever is necessary”.

As we write this story, President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is at the scene “visibly upset”, says CMTV and on his way to offer comfort to the bereaved.

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PHOTO: RTP notícias