Home South African George building collapse: 7 dead, 16 critical among 36 workers retrieved from...

George building collapse: 7 dead, 16 critical among 36 workers retrieved from site

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A total of 39 of the initial 75 workers who were on site at a five-storey building that collapsed in George remain unaccounted for.

A total of 39 of the initial 75 workers on site remain unaccounted for. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

GEORGE Municipality has confirmed that by noon on Wednesday, 36 workers had been retrieved from a collapsed building in the Western Cape town and of those, seven were dead, 16 were in critical condition, six had life-threatening injuries (yellow patients) and seven had minor injuries (green patients).

Thirty-nine of the initial 75 workers remain unaccounted for.

“A specialised asbestos removal company is currently tasked with deconstructing the parking structure located at the back of the site. This is to aid access for rescue operations, which continue at the building collapse site on Victoria Street. The rescue operation is approaching 46 hours as of 12 this afternoon, 8 May,” the municipality said.

A total of 39 of the initial 75 workers on site remain unaccounted for. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

About 200 emergency personnel from the City of Cape Town, Worcester and Breede Valley, along with volunteers, are assisting in finding the trapped workers.

Teams of three are working in rotation around the clock to save the lives of workers trapped in the rubble.

The building consisted of underground parking and four floors. The floors were not completed.

Dozens of workers have been rescued from the debris over the past two days.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde thanked all those who have been assisting in the rescue and emergency response.

“From the first responders, who have been working tirelessly since Monday afternoon to save the lives of the trapped construction workers, to residents who turned out in their numbers to offer help in any way that they can. You all make me as your premier of this extraordinary province humble and grateful for everything you have done and are still doing,” Winde said.

He added that while an arduous few days lay ahead as search and rescue efforts continued, the heart that volunteers and NGOs had shown in offering support to the families of the affected construction workers had been extraordinary.

“There are so many to thank, and I know that there are countless more organisations and residents that I must still thank.

“Thank you to LoveGeorge, Gift of the Givers, SARZA, the Lions of George, Garden Route Food Pantry and Food Sock Meals, Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums, and all the individual residents who have helped,” Winde said.

“Without us all pulling together, we would not have been able to respond to this incident in the way that we have. We must not give up hope. To all the emergency personnel assisting: you are true heroes.

“My heart goes out to the families of the deceased. I share your pain. We will do everything we can to ensure we determine the exact cause of this incident. Every time one of those huge pieces of concrete is lifted from the site, I hope fervently for good news.”

He said the Western Cape government has put forward all available resources to the emergency operation.

He added that he was receiving updates on the situation, and has again urged the public to allow emergency services officials the space to carry out their duties.

A total of 39 of the initial 75 workers on site remain unaccounted for. Pictures: Ayanda Ndamane, Independent Newspapers

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