Monday, 14 October 2013

Colombia building collapse: Search for missing continues

Rescue workers in Colombia continue to search for nine people missing after a luxury apartment complex collapsed on Saturday night.

Two bodies have been found in the rubble of the 24-storey tower.

The building in the city of Medellin had been evacuated after cracks were found in the masonry, but a team of construction workers and one resident were in the block when it came down.

Emergency workers said they had little hope of finding anyone alive.

"So many hours have gone by and there has been no movement," said Gloria Echeverri, the partner of one of the construction workers who was working on securing the building after residents discovered structural damage.

Emergency workers have not yet been able to recover the two bodies they located. Heavy rains have forced them to break off from their work for hours at a time.

Residents from another tower in the same complex blamed poor construction materials for the collapse.

"You'd put in a nail and the whole wall would come down," the owner of one apartment told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

The apartments in the collapsed block were completed earlier this year and cost between $100,000 (£67,000) and $265,000 (£166,000).

The block is in one of Medellin's most exclusive neighbourhoods.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Medellin city authorities had averted a great disaster by ordering the evacuation of the tower block on Saturday.

"We have a low number of victims considering what could have happened if there had been no evacuation," he said.

The construction company had insisted that the building was not at "any risk" of collapse and that the cracks were due to "localised damage" on the fourth floor.

Monday 14 October 2013


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