/ 11 May 2024

‘Miracle’ survivor found five days after George building collapse

George Building1
Rescue workers search through the rubble of a collapsed building in George, Western Cape. File photo

Rescuers and onlookers cheered and applauded on Saturday as a survivor was rescued after 116 hours from underneath the rubble of a collapsed building in George, Western Cape, with the  tragedy having killed at least 13.

“It is a miracle that we have all been hoping for,” provincial premier Alan Winde said on X.

An apartment block under construction in the George crumbled Monday afternoon while a crew of 81 were on site.

“When we went down to the side of the slab we had uncovered, we heard somebody inside and we stopped all the heavy operations,” Colin Deiner, head of rescue operations, told reporters.

Rescuers then called out to the survivor and he spoke back, Deiner said.

“He indicated to us that he’s got weight on his legs, and we’re very concerned about that after such a long period of time.”

After several hours, the survivor was extricated and rushed to a hospital.

Rescue teams have been working against time ever since the structure came crashing down.

Thirty people have been rescued alive while thirty-eight remained unaccounted for. 

Winde said a “difficult” identification process was underway and that police were using fingerprints, DNA testing and photographs.

Construction plans for a 42-unit apartment block had been approved by the city in July. 

The reasons for the collapse are still unknown. 

© Agence France-Presse