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Death toll up in Ghana building collapse

From Nana Karikari-apau, CNN
updated 2:36 PM EST, Sat November 10, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Voices still heard under rubble, store spokesman says
  • Israeli sniffer dogs used to find survivors
  • Dozens have been pulled out so far

(CNN) -- The death toll from the collapse of a large department store in Ghana this week is now 12, a store spokesman told CNN Saturday.

The six-story Melcom building crumpled Wednesday morning in a suburb of Accra, the West African nation's capital.

Rescue workers searched for survivors trapped under rubble. They included Ghanaian rescue crews and an Israeli team with sniffer dogs and heavy machinery.

At least 78 people, including Melcom employees and construction workers, have been pulled from the debris as of Saturday and taken to hospitals, said Richmond Oduro-Kwarteng, Melcom spokesman in Accra. Thirteen have since been discharged and at least one is in critical condition.

"There are still many voices being heard under the rubble," Oduro-Kwarteng said. "Rescue officials are saying the building collapsed due to poor foundation."

Oduro-Kwarteng said one man claimed he got a phone call from his girlfriend trapped in rubble "at the cookies section of the store."

"The rescue team is studying the design of the store so they can locate her," he said.

A nearby bank building has been evacuated pending a probe into the collapse. Melcom has 25 shopping centers across Ghana, including nine in Accra.

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