Six dead in New York City buildings collapse

NEW YORK - At least six people have died and several are missing after a gas leak sparked an explosion which levelled two buildings in New York City.

Scores of others were injured in the incident, which sent smoke billowing into the city sky.

Rescue crews began searching the debris on Wednesday evening for victims after the fire was finally put out.

Train services to and from Grand Central Terminal have been restored after a complete halt earlier.

As the search-and-rescue operation continued under floodlights on Wednesday night, the emergency services confirmed that the death toll had risen first to four, then to five and to six, with several people still missing.

Earlier, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference from the scene that the gas leak had been reported to the utility company 15 minutes before the blast on Wednesday morning.

Mr de Blasio said the "major explosion" had destroyed two buildings and heavily damaged other structures.

As night fell, rescue crews were finally able to search for victims in the debris after the fire raged for most of the day

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