Five killed and dozens buried by South Africa building collapse | News


Rescuers searching feverishly for trapped survivors; 75 construction workers were on site during Monday’s collapse.

At least five people have died and about 50 others remain trapped following the collapse of a building in South Africa.

Rescue teams said on Tuesday that they had contacted survivors buried under the rubble after they worked overnight at the site in the coastal city of George, in South Africa’s Western Cape province. The five-storey building, which was under construction, collapsed on Monday afternoon. No cause has yet been given.

Twenty-six of the 75 construction workers on site at the time of the collapse had been pulled from the rubble by Tuesday morning. Five were declared dead; the remainder were transported to hospital.

Of the 49 still unaccounted for, rescuers said they contacted 11 people.

“Four of them are trapped in a basement,” Colin Deiner, chief director for disaster management, told a news conference, adding that there is a possibility that more could be alive.

The priority is to get all those still trapped out, Deiner said, adding it could take much of the day. Rescuers will then begin the process of lifting the different floors.

“It’s a very tough operation,” he said. “So many people trapped in a building like that is like searching for a needle in a haystack. You literally have to break through the concrete and cut through the reinforcing.”

It is unclear yet why the building, located near the city centre, suddenly collapsed. The police have opened a case and authorities are investigating.

Security camera footage from nearby showed the concrete structure and metal scaffolding come crashing down at 2.09pm local time (12:09 GMT) on Monday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday sent condolences to the families of those affected and called on investigators to work quickly to rescue survivors.

“Investigations into the cause of the incident must aim to bring closure to the community and prevent a repeat of this disaster,” the statement read.

Building collapses in George, South Africa
The scene of a collapsed building in George, South Africa [AP Photo]

At least 11 of those injured were in “red” conditions, authorities said, indicating that “emergency” care was needed for critical injuries under South Africa’s triage procedures.

Three people were classified as needing “yellow” or “urgent” care, while 12 others were in less critical “green” and “blue” conditions.

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