South Africa News

Rescue operations at George building collapse will cease, public warned to stop spreading malicious rumours

Rescue and recovery operations at the collapsed building site in George will cease on Friday.

The George Municipality said rescue workers and other role-players have been on site for 259 hours.

They said while rescue operations will cease during the course of the day, access to Victoria Street remains closed from York Street.

“Based on information received from the contractor on site, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other emerging external sources, the estimated number of individuals on site during the incident was 81.

“We are aware that as the rescue operation unfolded, the numbers fluctuated, however, we can now confirm that 62 individuals were either recovered or rescued which allows for a 54.8% rescue rate.”

The municipality said that of the 62 people recovered, 33 were deceased.

Four of the 33 have yet to be formally identified.

A total of 29 people are alive, with some in hospital. The municipality is urging people to respect the privacy of the patients who are still hospitalised and receiving treatment at medical facilities.

George Municipality said they were in the process of finalising preparations for the Department of Labour and Employment to take over the building collapse site to continue their formal investigation.

“The public is advised that official investigations into the incident are being undertaken by SAPS, Department of Labour, Department of Infrastructure, and an independent structural engineering firm appointed by the Western Cape Government.

“Speculation and possible causes by unofficial ‘experts’ could impact negatively on the official investigation. The public is requested to refrain from spreading malicious rumours and/or fake news.”

In addition, the Western Cape Department of Social Development has indicated that a comprehensive range of services will continue to be made available to the affected families for a minimum of six months.

-IOL News

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