Blast shatters Beirut as search for missing continues

The city is in a state of emergency as the dead are counted after an explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, the same chemical used in the OKC bombing, leveled the port area.
3:07 | 08/06/20

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Transcript for Blast shatters Beirut as search for missing continues
Overseas tonight, and news coming in after that explosion in Beirut. The death toll rising. And tonight, authorities now say the blast was caused by more than 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse. To put that in perspective for you, that's more than 1,000 times what brought down the federal building in Oklahoma City. Here's our senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell again tonight. Reporter: Tonight, a state of emergency as Beirut counts the dead and desperately searches for the missing after that apocalyptic blast. Everyday life erased in a flash. The mushroom cloud and red pillar of smoke seen, heard and felt for dozens of miles. Buildings blown in half, cars crushed, glass lining the streets. But above all, lives torn apart. In what should have been the best day of her life, a bride poses for her wedding photos. As the blast rips through, she's seen running for her life. A priest, livestreaming a service, when the shockwaves hit. Stained glass raining down as the church shakes. An American living in Beirut describing the nightmare. I genuinely thought the building was going to crumble down while I was in my own home. I ran down to the street to see what was going on, kind of took cover because so much glass was falling from a bit of everywhere and so much glass on the streets. Reporter: At least one American citizen is known to be among the more than 130 dead. And more than a quarter 0 of a million people are now homeless in a country already in the depths of an economic crisis. This is all that remains of the port where the blast happened. A lifeline for a country that imports almost all its food, now reduced to rubble. These before and after satellite images show paths are all but raised to the ground. Port officials placed under house arrest until an investigation determines who is to blame. We're now learning there were more than 2,500 tons of ammonium nitrate stored here. A highly explosive chemical often used in fertilizers and the same check used in the Oklahoma City bombing, but the amount stored in Beirut, over 1,000 times more. It was confiscated from a freighter and stored at the port for six years, but nothing appears to have been done to secure it. As the investigation intensifies, some officials are pointing to gross negligence. But last night, president trump saying something else. It looks like a terrible attack. Reporter: But after calling it an attack last night, president trump on the subject just moments ago. I mean, you have some people think it was an attack and some people think it wasn't. In any event, it was a terrible -- Reporter: Reports out of Lebanon now suggesting there had been multiple warnings about the way this material was being stored. Those warnings clearly not heeded. And in a remarkable move, we're hearing that Israel, sworn enemy of Lebanon, is now offering medical and humanitarian assistance.

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