May 21, 2024

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South Africa launches investigations into building collapse

2 min read

In George, South Africa, a devastating building collapse has sparked urgent investigations and a massive rescue operation. Seven lives have been lost, and nearly 40 workers remain missing under the rubble, prompting national mourning and a quest for answers.

Leon van Wyk, the Executive Mayor of George, provided updates on the rescue operation; “We’ve recovered 36 people of which, unfortunately, seven are deceased. And there is still 39 that are unaccounted for that are buried somewhere in the rubble behind us. So, the rescue part is still continuing with the operation, but at the same, what the teams are now doing are preparing for recovery.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his condolences to the families affected by the tragedy and has called for thorough investigations into the cause of the collapse. Authorities, including police, the provincial government, and the national department of labor, are conducting inquiries to determine the factors contributing to the disaster.

Meanwhile, families and friends gather at the site, clinging to hope and offering support to one another during this harrowing ordeal.

Zebron Mhone, a relative of one of the trapped workers, expressed the anguish felt by families awaiting news of their loved ones.

“Truly it is very pain (painful), yeah, it is very pain (painful) because as a human to be under the ground it is very pain (painful). But with faith in God, we still have faith that she will come out.”

Rescue teams used underground cameras and sniffer dogs Wednesday to search for two days after the collapse of an apartment building under construction in coastal South Africa.

Seven workers have been confirmed dead, while 16 of the 29 people rescued from the debris were in critical condition in hospitals and an additional six had life-threatening injuries, authorities said. They said 39 workers were still unaccounted for and buried in the rubble of concrete and mangled metal scaffolding.

The unfinished five-story apartment complex collapsed Monday in George, a city on South Africa’s south coast around 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Cape Town. It sparked a desperate rescue effort that has drawn disaster response teams from other towns and cities. A total of 75 construction workers were at the building site when it came down, the George municipality said.

More than 200 rescue personnel continued to search for survivors. Cranes and other heavy lifting equipment were brought in to lift some of the huge concrete slabs that came crashing down on workers, while rescuers formed lines to remove the smaller rubble by hand.

Cranes and other heavy lifting equipment were brought in to lift some of the huge concrete slabs that came crashing down on workers, while rescuers formed lines to remove the smaller rubble by hand.

Rescuers said some of the survivors had used their cell phones while trapped under the debris to contact family members and that had helped emergency responders find them.

Families and friends of trapped workers continued to wait on site, hoping to hear good news from their loved ones.

By Agencies

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