Rescue Efforts in the Collapsed Soweto Building Enter Second Day

By Oliver Ngwenya    26-Jun-2014 20:58 UTC+02:00
Image eNCA

Image eNCA

By Thursday morning, fifteen people were reported to be still trapped under the rubble of the collapsed disused power building in Soweto. The whole scenario started when some copper and metal thieves went into the privately owned building to steal some copper and other metal for resale. As is usually the case for them, they expected to be in and out of the place in a short space of time. From preliminary investigations, it appears that one of them pulled the one piece of metal that was holding the place together .

On Wednesday, five men were rescued after the building collapsed while they were busy stealing scrap metals inside. Johannesburg Emergency Services Nana Radebe said police were close to retrieving the sixth man, believed to be trapped under the rubble. The police also said that rescue officials were still busy searching for the body of a man who was specifically known to be trapped in the building with the help of sniffer dogs. Responding to media enquiries, police spokesperson, Kay Makhubela, said that even though they were not sure about the number of people that were trapped in the building, they could not rule out the possibility of more people who were not known but still trapped in the building. To support this statement, some parents were eagerly waiting outside the building to wait and see if those being rescued were not their children.

They claim that these copper thieves were residents of the nearby informal settlement called Nomzamo Park. According to onlookers, these informal settlers have been stealing the copper from this and other buildings in the area for a long time. They further accuse the police in the area of being aware of this illegal state of affairs and not doing anything to curb this known crime. However, the reasons why the police were not taking any action were not clearly articulated. Some sources have also revealed that when the rescue efforts commenced, some individuals emerged from the building, but fearing arrest, did not seek medical attention, but proceeded torun away from the scene.

On Wedneday, a man was ferried to Chris Baragwanath Hospital in a critical but stable condition after he was rescued by amputating his arm, which had him trapped in the building. The rescuers felt that if they tried to move the beam that was trapping his hand, this would have caused a secondary collapse. This is the man many believed had called the emergency services telling them that he was trapped in the rubble of the Power Park. On Thursday, the body of another man was recovered around 3:00pm and, according to the emergency services, rescuers were in the process of removing his body from the rubble.

Leave a comment