Number of people killed in George building collapse shoots up

A week after the George building collapsed, the total number of deaths rose to 26 on Monday from Sunday’s 17, with search and rescue crews still going through the rubble.

The George municipality released the figure on Monday afternoon following an intensive search by the rescue and recovery team throughout the weekend.

The partially constructed building collapsed while an estimated 81 workers were on site.

Of the 81 people, 55 have been rescued and recovered, 13 are in hospitals, and 26 have been confirmed deceased.

The municipality said that 26 more workers are still unaccounted for.

Minute of silence

“The community and residents of George and South Africa will observe a minute of silence today at 2.09pm, the exact time that the building collapsed last week, to honour the lives lost and express our collective grief and support for the affected families,” said the municipality.

The municipality stated that the primary focus continues to be on rescue efforts.

“With this in mind, we are also proactively setting up plans to expedite the identification of the deceased.

“This is done by the forensic pathology service and the South African Police Service. We, therefore, endeavour to fast-track the process to help bring closure to families.”

Man extracted from the rubble

On identification of family members, George municipality said it is experiencing difficulties in obtaining accurate names of individuals who are missing or deceased.

“We urgently request families who have lost contact with their loved ones to come to the George Civic Centre on York Street.

“This will enable the department of social development to collect detailed and precise information, ensuring that all records are accurately documented.”

Another update is expected at 3pm on Monday.

At the weekend, a man was recovered, and Western Cape premier Alan Winde said the discovery of the survivor was nothing short of a miracle.

“He was successfully extracted from the rubble after more than 116 hours,” said Winde

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