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Rescue officials still hope to find wedding hall survivors

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Col. Jil Shenhar is the commander of an Israeli army rescue unit working to find survivors and recover the bodies of those killed in Thursday night's collapse of a crowded wedding reception hall in Jerusalem.

Shenhar spoke with CNN anchor Natalie Allen on Friday about the grim task rescuers face.

ALLEN: Can us tell us about the latest with the rescue effort and how difficult it is -- the conditions that you are working in with this building that is not stable?

The collapse of the dance floor happened right in front of a video camera recording the event (Warning: disturbing video) (May 24)

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Wedding disaster search continues

SHENHAR: At this moment, the building is very -- it is not stable. Therefore, we are trying now to put things that will give us -- that we could continue working on the area.

ALLEN: How many people have you seen be pulled from this rubble since you arrived there?

SHENHAR: Well, (there) were about 600 people in this event. And about more than 500 people have got out from that area. Therefore, we believe that there are only a few people that could be under the rubbish now.

ALLEN: And what do you think, colonel, is there any chance that any of them could still be alive? Is that how you're working this effort at this time?

SHENHAR: Well, we hope very much. We have a lot of experience from working in all the world and in Israel. And also in the earthquake, we found people alive after three and four days, so we still believe.

ALLEN: No doubt you have seen much tragedy in your career in Israel. What's it like for you and the other people working this site? What's it like in there?

SHENHAR: Well, it is quite difficult to work in that site. There are many tragedies that we see in the area. So, for example, a family at one of the tables, they were all dead. So there are quite difficult pictures to see. But we are working and doing all the efforts that we can do to save lives.

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