Building collapse rescue ops end

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Copy of ST main ruins840 THE STAR A vehicle lies crushed in the ruins of the old Orlando power station in Soweto. Despite the danger, opportunists continued to enter the ruins yesterday and delayed the search for those trapped inside, forcing police to cordon off the area. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Johannesburg - Rescue operations at a collapsed building in Soweto where four people died were called off on Friday afternoon, Johannesburg emergency management services said.

“The search and rescue team as well as dogs went in and did searches and could not locate anything. The search operations have been called off,” spokeswoman Nana Radebe said.

“On Monday, engineers will go in and as soon as rubble is removed the search and rescue teams will see if we can find anybody.”

On Friday morning, the bodies of two of the four people killed in the collapse were retrieved from the wreckage.

“Two bodies have been retrieved. The bodies were retrieved this morning,” Radebe said.

“The bodies, two men, were recovered by the search and rescue team. It's too early to say what the cause of death would be.”

The body of a fourth person has yet to be recovered.

A man's body was recovered on Thursday night and was handed to the police, Radebe said at the time.

The building, an old power station behind the landmark Orlando towers, collapsed on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, a man's arm had to be amputated to free him.

“The man was taken out after 3am, and it was difficult for the trauma doctors to access him. So we had to gain access from under the site,” Radebe said.

“His arm was amputated while he was still trapped because we could not move the building from his hand, as it could destabilise the area and cause a secondary collapse.”

He was pinned to the ground by a beam on his hand. The rescue team had to remove metal, beams, and concrete to help him. He was taken to hospital in a stable but critical condition, she said.

Radebe said more specialised equipment, such as hydraulics, was brought to the scene to help the rescue technicians.

Officials found out about the collapse on Wednesday, when paramedics received a call from an injured man who claimed to have been part of a group allegedly trying to steal cables and metal from the building.

Sapa



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