London blaze death toll reaches 30 as Queen visits survivors


dpa

Thirty people have been confirmed dead as a result of the blaze that ripped through a London tower block, police said on Friday, as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William visited survivors.

Many residents are still missing and the death toll was expected to grow higher, Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said.

The bodies of twelve people were recovered and are at a mortuary, while one person died at hospital. The rest of the deceased are still in the building.

“It is very hard to find the words to express how those families affected must be feeling, and it is our job to work tirelessly to provide them with the answers they so richly deserve,” Cundy said.

“A priority of each and every one of us involved in the ongoing operation at Grenfell Tower is to recover and identify all the victims,” he said.

The cause of the fire was still unknown, but police said there was nothing to indicate it was started deliberately.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William met survivors, volunteers, local residents and community workers at a fitness centre in Kensington, which is providing emergency accommodation for those affected by the fire in nearby Grenfell Tower.

Prime Minister Theresa May also met survivors on Friday in a private visit to a London hospital, Downing Street said, adding that she spent about an hour with patients and staff.

The visits come amid an atmosphere of acrimony and confusion.

A speech given on Thursday near the tower by London Mayor Sadiq Khan was interrupted by hecklers, who said that the fire “could have been prevented.”

Also on Thursday David Lammy, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party, called for a criminal investigation of possible “corporate manslaughter” as anger grew over reports that fire-safety concerns were ignored.

Both Prime Minister May and Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the site on Thursday, with May calling for a full inquiry into the blaze.

Police said six victims had been provisionally identified, adding that they were still unable to estimate the number of people missing.

Police said on Friday that 24 people are still being treated following the fire, with 12 remaining in critical care.