Skip to main content

Deadly South Africa building collapse investigated

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN
updated 7:27 AM EST, Wed November 20, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • At least one person is dead after a roof collapsed at a construction site in South Africa
  • Police say 30 people have been injured and three people are missing
  • South Africa's Department of Labour is investigating the "calamitous accident"
  • It has sent a high-level delegation to the scene of the collapse, in Tongaat township

(CNN) -- South Africa's Department of Labour is visiting the site of Tuesday's roof collapse near the eastern city of Durban, in which at least one person died and 30 people were injured.

The collapse occurred at a construction site in the township of Tongaat about 4:30 p.m. local time, at the end of the working day and after many workers had left.

Police said one woman was confirmed dead at the scene and three people remained unaccounted for.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu said he was shocked by the "horrific accident" and expressed confidence an investigation into its cause would be quickly carried out.

A building in Tongaat, South Africa, collapsed on Tuesday, November 19, killing at least one person and injuring dozens more. Rescue teams rushed to the scene to help construction workers who were trapped beneath the rubble. A building in Tongaat, South Africa, collapsed on Tuesday, November 19, killing at least one person and injuring dozens more. Rescue teams rushed to the scene to help construction workers who were trapped beneath the rubble.
South African building collapse
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
South African building collapse South African building collapse
40 feared trapped in building collapse
South Africa construction collapse

In a statement describing the collapse as "calamitous," the Department of Labour said its acting director, deputy director of inspection and enforcement and the commissioner for its Compensation Fund were visiting the site.

The South African Press Association (Sapa) said the search and rescue operation had been called off so that the department could move some of the rubble.

It quoted a police spokeswoman as saying it was possible that more people were trapped in the debris.

Speaking from the scene Tuesday, Crisis Medical operations director Neil Powell told CNN the construction work had been taking place beside a shopping mall.

"It's unknown exactly what caused the collapse. There was a large amount of scaffolding and cement foundation that collapsed onto some of the construction workers," Powell said.

He said those taken to a hospital for treatment had suffered injuries ranging from moderate to critical.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Industrial incidents
updated 9:37 AM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
U.S. regulators issued a safety advisory urging freight railroads to avoid using older tank cars when hauling highly volatile crude oil when possible.
updated 10:03 PM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
A pillar of black smoke billowed over downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, after a train carrying crude oil jumped its tracks and caught fire.
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Stories continued to emerge as firefighters ferreted through the piles of bricks and wreckage on the East Harlem block where a powerful explosion and fire leveled two buildings.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Those two New York buildings were served by a very old gas main -- 127 years old to be exact. It's the latest incident in what experts warn is a dangerous trend plaguing the nation's oldest cities.
updated 7:56 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Some thought it was a bomb. Others thought it was the commuter train that runs behind their buildings jumping the tracks.
updated 7:48 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Metro-North Railroad, the second largest commuter rail line in the country, has a "deficient safety culture" and overemphasizes on-time performance.
updated 6:32 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
A roof collapsed at a resort retreat for college freshmen in South Korea, killing 10 people and injuring more than 100.
updated 11:45 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
An old auditorium collapsed at a village wedding in eastern China, killing at least nine people and injuring some 90 others.
updated 1:14 PM EST, Sun January 5, 2014
At least 14 people were killed when a building under construction at India's seaside tourist resort of Goa caved in.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon December 30, 2013
Part of a picturesque toll highway that tourists use to travel between the Mexican towns of Ensenada and Tijuana collapsed.
updated 2:16 PM EST, Sun December 8, 2013
Given the New York train derailment, are we approaching a time when machines should be powering our methods of travel forward?
updated 8:58 AM EST, Mon November 18, 2013
At least 27 people were killed when a cargo train slammed into two cars south of Cairo.
updated 12:43 PM EST, Sat November 23, 2013
Latvia's president has described the deadly collapse of a supermarket roof in Riga as "basically mass murder" of defenseless citizens.
updated 7:27 AM EST, Wed November 20, 2013
South Africa's Department of Labour is visiting the site of aroof collapse near the eastern city of Durban, in which at least one person died and 30 people were injured.
updated 4:28 AM EDT, Mon September 30, 2013
Authorities say they now know what may have caused a five-story building in Mumbai to collapse: a decorator who removed a central wall and supporting beams without permission.
updated 5:03 PM EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
The driver of a train that derailed in northwestern Spain, killing 79 people, was on the phone with railway staff when the train crashed.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed July 17, 2013
See images of industrial incidents spanning modern history
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
A city is in despair after many are killed in a garment factory collapse
ADVERTISEMENT