South Africa

George building collapse: Rescue operation concludes with 62 confirmed on-site

George building collapse 2 3

The Western Cape Government and George Municipality have confirmed that 62 individuals, rather than 81, were present at the construction site when the catastrophic collapse occurred.

The rescue and recovery operation, which lasted an arduous 260 hours with personnel working around the clock in two shifts, has now been concluded, announced Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell on Friday.

“I am very happy that we could revise the number of people on site down from 81 to 62, as it means fewer families are grieving today,” Bredell said.

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Building collapse rescue revisions

There were several revisions to the number of individuals reported to be on site when the collapse occurred and during the rescue operation.

According to Bredell, 62 individuals were on the construction site when the building collapsed; 34 of whom were successfully rescued; 33 people lost their lives, including five individuals who were rescued but later succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

Ten individuals remain hospitalized, and 19 individuals have either been discharged or received medical treatment on site.

Bredell reflected that the disaster will be remembered not only for the huge and heartbreaking casualties, but also for the commendable courageous and selfless efforts of the over 1 000 rescue, support, and volunteer workers who offered assistance since the incident on 6 May.

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Condolence and call for accountability

Rescue workers cleared over 6 000 tons of debris while searching for survivors.

The premier acknowledged that the past two weeks have been challenging. He commended the disaster management workers and volunteers’ work in saving as many lives as they could.

Winde extended his heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased.

“We share your pain and will do everything in our power to hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable,” he said.

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He further reiterated that the spotlight has been shifted to the investigation launched by the provincial government following the incident.

“This was a devastating tragedy. We need to understand what happened and what steps need to be taken to ensure that we do everything possible to hold those who need to be held accountable,” Winde said.

Furthermore, Winde also commended the rescue team for every life saved during the operation.

“I know what it meant for all of us when our teams pulled Gabriel from the rubble early on Saturday morning. And I must again recognize all the residents of this province who came together and showed immense compassion and support, thank you,” Winde said.

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