Body found at site of collapsed New York buildings

New York police recovered on Sunday a body from the Manhattan site where four buildings were destroyed or damaged earlier this week in a massive gas explosion.

Two people had been reported missing from a sushi restaurant ravaged by the Thursday blast, which blew the front off a commercial and residential property on Second Avenue in East Village and led to a multi-building fire.

NYPD Sergeant Lee Jones told AFP that a body had "been recovered" around 1:00 pm (1700 GMT), but did not identify who it was or exactly where it was found.

Police had previously said witness statements put both missing people in the sushi restaurant at the time of the explosion. Local media identified them as a young man on a date and a busboy.

In total 22 people were injured in the blast and subsequent fire, including six uniformed personnel.

New York`s fire commissioner said it would take a week to clear the debris created by the incident, which leveled three properties and badly damaged a fourth.