South Africa: Deadly George Building Collapse - Rescue Operation Ends

Building collapse site.
17 May 2024

Cape Town — The George building rescue operation is concluded, Western Cape officials announced today.

"The disaster will be remembered for the immense and tragic loss of life, but also for the incredibly brave and selfless work carried out by the more than a thousand rescue, support, and volunteer workers who were involved since Monday, 6 May, when the building collapsed. I am very happy that we could revise the number of people on site down from 81 to 62, as it means fewer families are grieving today," said Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning.

More than 6,000 tons of rubble were carefully removed in the rescue operation while rescue workers searched for survivors in an operation that lasted 260 hours, with 24-hour shifts, and 2 shifts on rotation.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said: "This has been an exceptionally difficult time for us all. But through it all, our disaster management workers and volunteers persevered with the sole aim of saving the lives of as many people as possible. My heartfelt condolences go to the families of the 33 victims. We share your pain and will do everything we can to hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable.”

It was confirmed that 62 people were on the building site when the collapse occurred, 34 people were successfully rescued, 33 people died, including 5 people who succumbed to their injuries in hospital, 10 people are still in hospital, and 19 people were either discharged or received on-site medical treatment.

An investigation into the collapse continues as "we need to understand what happened and what steps need to be taken to ensure that we do whatever we can to hold those who need to be held to account", Winde said.. There were so many tough and difficult moments for our teams on the ground during this operation, and

The operation's rescue rate of 54,8% "is testament to the brave and professional work of our rescue workers, and the result of years of investing and training in our provincial disaster capabilities, which are world-class ... I am so proud of our team for every life saved. I know what it did for all of us when our teams pulled Gabriel from the rubble early on Saturday morning. And I must again recognise all the residents of this province who pulled together and showed immense compassion and support, thank you,” said the Western Cape premier.

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.