Skip to main content

Latvia's prime minister resigns over deadly roof collapse

By Laura Smith-Spark and Anna Maja Rappard, CNN
updated 5:34 PM EST, Wed November 27, 2013
People place flowers and light candles in front of the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday, November 23, two days after dozens of people reportedly died in a roof collapse. Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs said authorities suspect building materials stored on the roof caused it to collapse Thursday. People place flowers and light candles in front of the Maxima supermarket in Riga, Latvia, on Saturday, November 23, two days after dozens of people reportedly died in a roof collapse. Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs said authorities suspect building materials stored on the roof caused it to collapse Thursday.
HIDE CAPTION
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
Deadly roof collapse in Latvia
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis announces his resignation over the roof collapse
  • More than 50 people died when the supermarket roof came crashing down last week
  • Dombrovskis is expected to address the nation Wednesday
  • His spokesman says he is "taking political responsibility for the tragedy"

(CNN) -- Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis is resigning in the wake of a deadly supermarket roof collapse, his spokesman said Wednesday.

Dombrovskis is "taking political responsibility for the tragedy," spokesman Martin Punke told CNN.

The roof collapse last Thursday in the Zolitude neighborhood of the capital, Riga, left more than 50 people dead -- the deadliest incident in Latvia since the country became independent in 1991.

Dombrovskis, who has been prime minister since March 2009, is expected to address the nation in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Latvian PM resigns over roof collapse
Death toll rises at Latvia collapse

His decision to step down came after a meeting with the president, according to Latvia's national news agency, LETA.

The news agency quotes Dombrovskis as thanking Latvians for their support during the economic and financial crisis and apologizing "for all that we have failed to achieve."

A total of 54 people, including three firefighters, died in the collapse and several dozen were injured, LETA said.

In the wake of the tragedy, President Andris Berzins told Latvian television that "nature could not be blamed" and that those involved needed to think about what they had done, so that action could be taken.

"This incident is basically the mass murder of a large number of defenseless civilians. We must act accordingly,'' Berzins said.

The cause of the disaster is still under investigation. However, Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs told CNN last week that authorities think building materials stored on the roof caused it to collapse.

READ: Latvian president: supermarket roof collapse 'basically mass murder'

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Industrial incidents
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