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30 Mar 2008 19:31
Rescuers on Sunday pushed on with efforts to find more survivors from the rubble of the Angolan police headquarters that collapsed in the capital. The disaster is feared to have claimed seven lives.
As President Jose Eduardo dos Santos toured the tangle of masonry at the site of the criminal investigations department, the national police commissioner said he was optimistic that more people would be found alive.
“The main difficulty is that we must take great care while we remove the debris ...
so that we can retrieve people alive,” Commissioner Ambrosio de Lemos told reporters.
Rescuers have been using sniffer dogs and picking through the rubble with their bare hands in order to locate survivors and recover bodies.
The official death toll so far stands at four, but state radio reported that one of the latest survivors to be pulled from the rubble had told rescue workers that he had seen three bodies still stuck under a mound of masonry.
More than 150 people were also wounded when the seven-storey building collapsed around daybreak on Saturday.
Interior Minister Roberto Leal Monteiro said 181 people were believed to have been in the building at the time of the collapse, including 145 detainees being held while under investigation.
A total of 102 of those injured were treated in hospital, and nine of them were said to be in a serious condition, according to the Interior Ministry.
While the authorities have refused to comment on the cause of the disaster, Catholic Radio Ecclesia reported that a seventh floor had been added to the original building, with a massive generator placed on the top floor.—Sapa-AFP
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