South Africa: Deadly building collapse leaves dozens trapped

  • Written by Shingai Nyoka in South Africa and Ian Casey in London
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Rescue workers in South Africa are searching for survivors after a five-storey apartment building under construction collapsed on Monday, killing five people and trapping at least 50 others.

Officials in the city of George, Western Cape Province, said that 26 people were recovered from the rubble and taken to hospital, but there were dozens of other workers at the site when the building collapsed.

Case under investigation. Video footage captured nearby showed a huge cloud of dust as the building fell.

At the scene Tuesday morning, emergency workers took turns working the small site, manually removing concrete blocks and debris.

Every now and then the team leader would raise his fist and demand silence. Everyone stopped and looked, hoping to find someone. Some were false alarms and the noise resumed.

The majority of workers on the construction site are still missing, and the process of extracting survivors has been long and slow.

Two of those recovered from the wreckage died of their injuries. Paramedics later reported three more deaths.

The site has been cordoned off from the public. But there were still many people standing around the perimeter in shock and disbelief.

City Mayor Ald van Wyk said he offered his condolences to the families “and all those affected who are still waiting for word from their loved ones.”

Comment on the photo, Heavy lifting equipment and police dogs were brought in to assist in the rescue efforts

During the night, more than 100 rescuers worked with sniffer dogs to locate those trapped in the building. Heavy lifting equipment was used to assist in the operation.

Officials said they were able to contact some people under the rubble. It is believed there were at least 75 workers on site when the collapse occurred.

Photos of the area now show a completely leveled construction site, with parts of the building’s roof standing above the rubble.

Reuters news agency quoted local council member Teresa Gee as saying, “I saw a man working and then there was a loud noise and I saw the entire building collapsing… I am also shocked. It is very sad.”

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