Rescue operations concluded at building collapse site in South Africa

  • World
  • Saturday, 18 May 2024

CAPE TOWN, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Search and rescue efforts at the site of a recent building collapse in South Africa, which claimed the lives of at least 33 people, were concluded on Friday, said local authorities.

The multi-story building under construction in the coastal city of George, the Western Cape Province, collapsed last week.

"The rescue and recovery operations for the building collapse site lasted 260 hours," the municipal government of George said in a statement issued on Friday afternoon.

"Search and rescue efforts are completed," the statement said.

"Consequently, the site is classified as a crime scene and has officially been handed over for a formal investigation by the South African Police Service who will hand it over to the Department of Labor and Employment for their formal investigation to be conducted," it said.

In the statement, the municipality revised the number of individuals on site during the incident from 81 to 62.

"We are aware that as the incident unfolded the numbers fluctuated, however we can now officially confirm that with the rescue and recovery efforts now completed, only 62 individuals are accounted for," said the statement.

All 62 workers onsite have been rescued or recovered, with 33 of them declared deceased. Ten people are still in hospital and 19 people have either been discharged or received onsite medical treatment.

The municipality also revealed a list of nationalities present on the incident site, including South Africa (15), Mozambique (19), Zimbabwe (7), Malawi (13), Lesotho (5), permanent residency holder (1) and unknown nationality (2).

In a separate statement, the provincial government of Western Cape said more than 1,000 rescue, support, and volunteer workers were involved in the rescue and recovery operations.

"Our attention is now focused on the investigation," said the statement. "We need to understand what happened and what steps need to be taken to ensure that we do whatever we can to hold those who need to be held to account."

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