herald

Sunday 23 September 2018

Shop roof collapse death toll rises to 50

Cranes: The collapsed Maxima supermarket.
Cranes: The collapsed Maxima supermarket.
The collapsed Maxima supermarket.
People bring flowers to scene
An injured firefighter.

The number of dead from a supermarket roof collapse in Latvia has risen to 50.

However, police say the death toll at the sprawling Maxima supermarket in the capital Riga is expected to rise further.

The number of injured remains at 35, including 10 firefighters, and nine of the dead are still unidentified.

Rescue workers were continuing their round-the-clock search for possible survivors yesterday.

They were periodically turning off all equipment and asking relatives of missing people to call so they could hear ringing mobile phones in the rubble.

FLAWED

The reason for the collapse during the shopping rush-hour on Thursday was still not known but rescue and police officials said that possible reasons include building design flaws and poor construction work.

Pictures from residential buildings overlooking the store showed an enormous crater-like hole in the roof.

Building materials were stacked on remaining sections of the roof, where workers were building a garden as part of the Maxima supermarket's original design plan.

Several large construction cranes hauled debris from the hole. Work was continuing slowly since both the rubble and remaining sections of roof were like a house of cards and could collapse further if a wrong piece is moved or lifted.

Some firefighters suffered injuries when large sections of roof fell on them right after their arrival on the scene.

The rescue service estimated that approximately 500sqm of roof collapsed, destroying large sections of the store's high walls and nearly all its front windows.

hnews@herald.ie

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