U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said 60 people remain unaccounted for after Wednesday’s fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
At least 11 emergency responders are among the missing. Officials presume they are dead, according to The Dallas Morning News. Search and rescue teams have recovered 12 bodies so far. Some of the remains have yet to be identified. The bodies were found “in the area” of the plant, said Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes.
Five of the city’s 33 volunteer firefighters, including the city secretary, are among the dead.
Officials hope some of the people who are now listed as missing may just not have checked in with emergency responders to confirm they are safe.
Rescue teams still have 25 buildings to clear. State and local officials are working on a plan to let residents back into the five-block area around the plant that has been cordoned off since the explosion. The blast zone includes about 175 buildings. Each must be examined for structural stability.
Officials now say about 200 people were injured by the blast, which was so strong it registered as a small earthquake.