South Africa Mall Collapse: One dead And Dozens Injured

At least one person was killed, and dozens injured, after a half-built shopping centre collapsed near Durban, South Africa on Tuesday afternoon.

A large numbers of construction workers were on site when a large section of the unfinished building caved in, thought to be about the size of a football pitch. There is a great concern that the collapse has left many trapped in the rubble. In the aftermath it is believed that 29 people were taken to hospital in the town of Tongaat, some 20 miles north of the coastal city of Durban. Reports suggest that several of these admitted patients have suffered “massive traumatic injuries”.

A rescue team worked through the night and into the morning picking through the rubble, but the search operation was called off today after no survivors were found or bodies added to the one confirmed death last night.

“The scene is extremely horrific … concrete big blocks have fallen on to people,” said Chris Botha, a spokesman for the Netcare 911 emergency service.

Last night he spoke from the scene, telling broadcaster ENCA that the second floor of the structure had given way.

“The guys are busy using hydraulic rescue equipment to break through the concrete and get to some of the patients,” he said.

While the cause of the collapse remains unclear, unconfirmed reports suggest the company building the mall had received a number of injunctions from local authorities – the latest on 14 November – ordering it to halt construction.

District mayor James Nxumalo told Talk Radio 702: “It looks like the company violated all of those court orders and now this tragedy happened.”

Posted on November 21st, 2013