Update on the collapse of a building which left at least six dead and dozens missing

Update on the collapse of a building which left at least six dead and dozens missing
Update on the collapse of a building which left at least six dead and dozens missing

On Monday, shortly after 2 p.m., a building under construction collapsed in George, South Africa. “A work crew of 75 people was on site at the time of the collapse,” said municipality spokesperson Chantel Edwards. Nearly twenty-four hours later, around fifty people remain trapped or missing and an investigation has been opened. 20 minutes make the point.

The reminder of the facts

Around 2 p.m. on Monday, a five-storey building under construction, including an underground car park, collapsed in George on the South African coast while 75 people were on site.

The construction companies involved in the project worked with the authorities to establish a precise list of people who have not yet been heard from, the city said.

The priority, “take out all the people located”

During a press briefing, Provincial Premier Alan Winde announced an additional death among those pulled from the rubble, bringing the death toll from five to six. In all, 27 people were taken out of the rubble and most of them hospitalized.

The priority of the rescuers is “to get out all the people located, which could take a good part of the day,” he said at the time of this press conference. Then, “we will begin to destratify” the rubble, that is to say clear floor by floor, because “there could still be survivors” below, he added, hoping to be able to tackle this step during the day too.

“We are in contact with eleven people,” said Colin Deiner, head of rescue operations, including “four who are stuck in a basement.” “But it is very delicate to remove the tons of concrete” which enclose them, provincial minister Anton Bredell had emphasized earlier. In all, around fifty workers are still missing. “We will continue to work until we get them out of there,” assured the head of rescue operations.

Emergency services are working “tirelessly”

The rescuers, divided into teams, concentrated their efforts on “three distinct areas” of the rubble of the collapsed building, explained the town hall. Under strong floodlights, more than a hundred rescuers, aided by backhoes and excavators, as well as teams of sniffer dogs, worked tirelessly all night.

An operational post was set up to coordinate the various emergency services which went to the site, coming from several surrounding towns and even from the city of Cape Town, located more than 400 km west of the disaster.

Families and loved ones were invited to meet at the town hall, near the collapsed building, where they were taken care of, in particular by social workers, the municipality said.

An open investigation

President Cyril Ramaphosa sent “his deepest condolences” to the loved ones of those who died and “his thoughts” to the families of the workers still trapped.

“Our thoughts are with the families and all those affected, who continue to wait for news of their loved ones,” Mayor Leon Van Wyk said in a statement.

A police investigation was opened to determine the reasons which could have caused the collapse of this building under construction.

Photos of the disaster show a flattened construction site around which numerous emergency services are positioned. The roof of the building remains visible, shaky, above a pile of rubble. The site was isolated by a security perimeter to protect local residents.



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