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South Africa: six dead, dozens trapped in collapsed building

The rescuers have redoubled their efforts. efforts Tuesday to free workers trapped in the rubble of a building under construction that collapsed. the day before à George, on the South African coast, and in which six people have already lived. perished, according to the latest assessment by the authorities.

“We are in contact with eleven people,” said Colin Deiner, head of rescue operations, including “four who are stuck in a basement.” In all, around fifty workers are still missing.

The priority of the rescuers is to remove all the people located, which could take a good part of the day, he specified during a conference of press.

Then, “we will begin to destratify” the rubble, that is, clear floor by floor, because “there could still be survivors” below , he added, hoping to tackle this stage during the day too.

South Africa: six dead, dozens trapped in collapsed building

Rescuers at the site of a collapsed building in George, May 7, 2024 © AFP – Willie van Tonder

During this 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 total, 27 people were taken out of the rubble and most of them hospitalized.

“We are in communication with some of the people” trapped under the rubble, provincial minister Anton Bredell explained earlier. “But it’s very tricky to remove the tons of concrete” that enclose them.

“We will continue to work until we get them out of there,” he assured.

< p>The rescuers, divided into teams, concentrated their efforts on “three distinct areas” of the rubble of the collapsed building, explained the town hall.

– Investigation open –

President Cyril Ramaphosa offered “his deepest condolences” to the relatives of deceased people and “his thoughts” to the families of the workers still trapped.

“A work team of 75 people was on the site at the time of the collapse” of this residential building under construction, Monday shortly after 2:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. GMT), said the spokesperson for the municipality, Chantel Edwards.

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

South Africa: six dead, dozens trapped in collapsed building

The site of a collapsed building in George, May 7, 2024 © AFP – Willie van Tonder

The five-story building, including an underground parking lot, collapsed for reasons still undetermined. A police investigation was opened.

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 has been isolated by a security perimeter to protect local residents. 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.

South Africa: six dead, dozens trapped in collapsed building

An excavator truck at the site of the collapse of a building under construction in George, May 6, 2024 in South Africa © AFP – Willie van Tonder

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.

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

George is a medium-sized town of around 160,000 inhabitants, located near the very touristy Garden Route, which runs along the south coast of the country.

Its town hall is run by the country's leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which also governs the Western Cape province.< /p> All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116