Rescuers in Jersey said Sunday after an all-night search that there was no hope of survivors from an explosion that flattened a three-storey apartment block.
At least three people were confirmed killed in the blast early Saturday in the Channel island's port capital St Helier, following a suspected gas leak.
But nine residents remained unaccounted for, and there may have been visitors staying in the block overnight, the BBC reported.
"It is with sadness that I am confirming that the search-and- rescue operation has been moved to a recovery operation," Jersey police chief Robin Smith said.
Aided by sniffer dogs and experts from southern England, Jersey emergency workers had searched the rubble overnight.
Like many others in St Helier, Jersey's Chief Minister Kristina Moore said she was awoken by the blast.
"Across the island you could hear this extraordinary sound," she told the BBC.
"It's unthinkable news, we're all absolutely devastated and really concerned for the people who are involved, for those whose lives have been lost."
Jersey's gas supplier, Island Energy, said it was working with the fire service to understand what happened.
The incident caps a tragic week for Jersey, a British Crown dependency not part of the United Kingdom, whose economy relies on banking, tourism and fishing.
The coastguard Friday abandoned a search for three Jersey fishermen missing for nearly 36 hours after their wooden boat hit a cargo ship and sank.
The freighter is owned by Condor Ferries, whose Jersey offices lie near the destroyed apartment block.
"We must call on the collective strength of the island community," Moore said.