South Africa: Dozens trapped in deadly building collapse

  • By Shinkai Nyoga in South Africa and Ian Casey in London
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

Rescuers searched for survivors after a five-story apartment block under construction collapsed in South Africa on Monday, killing five people and trapping at least 50 others.

Officials in the Western Cape province’s town of George said 26 people had been rescued from the rubble and taken to hospital, but dozens of workers were still at the site when the building collapsed.

The cause is under investigation. As the building collapsed, video footage taken nearby showed a huge plume of dust.

At the scene Tuesday morning, emergency crews worked on the small site, removing concrete blocks and debris by hand.

Each time the team leader raised his fist and called for silence. Everyone stopped and watched, hoping that someone had been found. Some of them were false alarms and the noise started again.

Most of the workers on the construction site are still unaccounted for, and bringing out survivors is a long and slow process.

Two of those rescued from the wreckage were injured and died. Three more deaths were later reported by the doctor.

The place is closed to the public. But there were many more standing around the perimeter in shock and disbelief.

The city’s mayor, Alt van Wyk, said he shared his condolences “and to all the victims who continue to wait for word of their loved ones.”

image caption, Heavy lifting equipment and sniffer dogs have been called in to assist in the rescue efforts

Over 100 rescuers with sniffer dogs worked through the night to find people trapped in the building. Heavy lifting equipment was used to assist in the operation.

Officials said they were able to make contact with some people who were under the rubble. At least 75 workers are believed to have been at the site when the collapse occurred.

Photographs of the area now show a completely flattened construction site, with parts of the building’s roof lying on top of the rubble.

“I saw a guy working and then ‘boom’ I saw the whole building collapse… I was also shocked. It’s very sad,” local councilor Theresa Jay was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *