Rescue efforts halted after South African building collapse where 33 died

FILE PHOTO: Rescuers work to rescue construction workers trapped under a building that collapsed in George, South Africa May 8, 2024. REUTERS/Esa Alexander/File Photo

Officials in the South African city of George halted the search for survivors and more bodies on Friday at the site of a collapsed building where 33 people died.

Rescue personnel and volunteers have been combing through the rubble for 11 days, after the five-storey residential building under construction in the city east of Cape Town crumbled, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake.

The Western Cape government said it now believed 62 people were at the site at the time of the disaster. Twenty-nine people survived after being rescued.

At one stage municipal officials believed 81 people were on site when the building came down.

“The site is empty. We have done our job,” Anton Bredell, a Western Cape provincial official, told reporters.

It is believed that migrants from neighbouring Malawi and Zimbabwe were working at the construction site as well as South Africans.

A spokesperson for Malawi’s foreign affairs ministry said nine Malawians were confirmed to have died in the incident and 11 had been rescued, two of whom were still in hospital.

The cause of the building collapse has not yet been established. Investigations are under way.

President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the site on Thursday and met families of the victims.


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