KZN police launch inquest following construction workers’ deaths at Ballito site

Published May 18, 2024


KwaZulu-Natal police have opened an inquest after four construction workers were killed when a sand bank collapsed onto them at a building site in Ballito, north of Durban, on Saturday morning.

Only one worker survived after he was retrieved from beneath tons of sand that entombed the workers.

Emergency services reported that just before 9.30am, a sand bank collapsed at a site in Zen Drive in Ballito, entrapping five workers.

IPSS Medical Rescue’s Samantha Meyrick said after midday, a call was made to halt the search.

“Recovery was called off at this stage due to further collapses of the sand bank. Multiple agencies worked together and waited for suitable equipment to conduct a safe recovery of the missing victims,” she said.

Just after 1pm, emergency services said a TLB arrived on scene to excavate the sand in order for paramedics to get to the workers.

An AMS helicopter was also on scene to rush the surviving worker to hospital.

According to provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, information at police disposal indicates that 14 construction workers were at the bottom of the escarpment, building a gabion retaining wall when the wall collapsed and buried five workers underneath.

“The police's Search and Rescue team, working with other private entities, managed to rescue all five victims, however, four of them were certified dead at the scene.

“One worker was found alive, approximately six hours after the collapse of the wall. Inquest dockets have been opened for investigation,” he said.

Netshiunda added that circumstances that led to the collapse of the wall will also form part of police investigations.

IOL News