Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Roof Collapse at Paris Airport Kills 6

ROISSY, France -- A large portion of the vaulted roof in a new passenger terminal at Paris' largest airport caved in Sunday, killing up to six people and injuring three others, officials said.

Transport Minister Gilles de Robien said there was nothing to indicate that the collapse at Charles de Gaulle Airport was due to a terrorist attack. Authorities immediately started a complete investigation of the tragedy.

Tons of concrete, steel and glass from the roof fell onto a waiting area in the gleaming terminal and pulled the outer walls down. Hundreds of rescue workers rushed to the scene and temporary hospitals were set up on the tarmac and inside the terminal.

Rescue officials could not immediately get access to the area of the accident. However, search dogs indicated there were few, if any, bodies left under the wreckage, said Michel Sappin, prefect of the Seine-Saint-Denis region, just north of Paris, where Charles de Gaulle Airport is located.

The accident occurred in a section of Terminal 2E that opened just 11 months ago, after at least two construction delays. The French television station LCI said the delays were caused by safety issues.

When it was finally opened, the long, tunnel-like terminal, with an arched roof and a sleek design, was considered a "prestige" site in the sprawling airport complex, said Pierre Graff, president of the Paris airports authority.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

"There is nothing to indicate that this was a terrorist attack," de Robien told reporters.

Graff said that some warning signs appeared just ahead of the collapse.

"Some witnesses heard cracks just before the collapse, cracks and some dust from the concrete," he said.

Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin inspected the site of the accident in the northern Paris suburb of Roissy, along with the transport minister.

De Villepin said there were five confirmed dead and "perhaps six," a figure confirmed by Paris Fire Department Chief Laurent Vibert.

Officials had earlier said that six people were definitely killed.

The tragedy comes as France braces for the influx of summer tourists who will pour into Charles de Gaulle Airport. President Jacques Chirac said he was requesting "that the necessary investigations be immediately started so that the causes of this accident can be determined as quickly as possible."

He expressed his "very deep compassion" to families of the dead and the injured, a statement from the president's office said.

At least six people were killed and three injured, Sappin said on France-Info radio. He said that there was only a moderate number of people coming and going in the area at the time. An Air France plane coming from New York and another from Johannesburg, South Africa, had just landed, he said. Another Air France flight was taking off for Prague.

The identities of the victims were not yet known, Sappin added.

The terminal will eventually have the capacity for 10 million passengers per year. Its distinctive vaulted ceiling is honeycombed with hundreds of square windows that bathe the area inside with sunlight.