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George building collapse rescue, recovery operations wrapped up

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George building collapse rescue, recovery operations wrapped up

The cleared site of a building collapse in George
Photo by George municipality

17th May 2024

By: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell has confirmed that the rescue and recovery operation at the site of a building collapse, in George, has been concluded.

More than 1 000 rescue, support and volunteer workers carried out the 260-hour operation, which saw more than 6 000 t of rubble carefully removed to enable rescue workers to search for survivors.

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Although it was initially thought that there were 81 people on site at the time of the collapse on May 6, the Western Cape government has confirmed that there were only 62 people on site at the time.

Of the 62, 33 died, while 29 survived - ten of whom are still in hospital.

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"This has been an exceptionally difficult time for us all. But through it all, our disaster management workers and volunteers persevered with the sole aim of saving the lives of as many people as possible.

My heartfelt condolences go to the families of the 33 victims. We share your pain and will do everything we can to hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable,” comments Western Cape Premier Alan Winde.

He adds that the attention will now shift towards investigating the cause of the collapse.

“We need to understand what happened and what steps need to be taken to ensure that we do whatever we can to hold those who need to be held to account,” he says.

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