George Building Collapse: Rescue of Trapped South African Dad Delphin Sapphires

Image source, Al-Saffar family

Comment on the photo, Delphine Savers’ family sent a photo of his son Ziar to lift his spirits while he was under siege

  • author, Shinjay Nyoka and Ed Habershon
  • Role, BBC News
  • Report from George

A couple shared their joy with the BBC after rescuing their son from the rubble of a building that collapsed on Monday in the coastal city of George, South Africa.

Delphine Sivers is among 29 survivors released as rescue and search operations continue for a third day to find 39 people still missing.

Seven people were confirmed dead and their bodies were recovered.

The plight of Delphine (29 years old) caught the attention of South African citizens, as he sent painful voice messages to his parents and his girlfriend, telling them how much he loved them, and expressing his fear that he would not get out alive.

His father, Dion Sievers, told the BBC that he himself was terrified, until a rescuer phoned late on Tuesday to say they had found a dolphin.

This was thanks to a police dog who started barking, alerting rescuers who then drilled a hole in the concrete so they could see his hand.

“They handed him chocolate, water, a mask and a pair of… [protective] “Glasses,” Dionne added.

“It worked. It really worked,” she said.

In one of his voice messages, in Afrikaans, to his girlfriend Nicole, the beleaguered 29-year-old said: “Babe, my phone is on 5% now. It has been stopped. I turned it on now just to check it out.”

He can also be heard sobbing and saying: “I just hope they do it [rescue teams] I can get this done quickly because I wouldn’t be able to do this. I don’t have any energy. “I’m tired, tired, tired.”

The five-storey apartment building collapsed while under construction in a city that is a popular tourist destination, along the scenic Garden Route in the Western Cape province.

All those trapped under the rubble, including Delphine, were workers at the site.

Of the 29 survivors, six are suffering from life-threatening injuries and 16 are in critical condition in hospital.

Delphine suffered severe bruises on his face and all over his body.

He couldn’t walk at first, but now he is able to do so.

“He looked better. He has a smile on his face. When I saw him walking, it was one of the greatest moments today,” Delmarre said after visiting him in the hospital.

She added: “We are here to support all the other families – their grief is our grief.”

The rescue operation is complex, and involves 200 people equipped with sniffer dogs and heavy lifting equipment, removing concrete blocks and debris by hand.

It has now moved to the back of the site, to an underground car park.

Investigations are still underway to determine the causes of the building’s collapse.

Dion said he was angry that “a completely new building collapsed”, causing deaths and injuries.

He told the BBC: “We can’t believe it. People should take responsibility and someone should go to prison for this.”

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Image source, Getty Images/BBC

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