Rescuers reach mall victim by phone

2012-11-10 07:17
Ghana mall collapse (Picture: AFP)

Ghana mall collapse (Picture: AFP)

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Accra - Rescuers at the site of a collapsed six-storey mall in Ghana managed on Friday to reach one of the victims buried in the rubble by phone as the death toll from the disaster rose to 10, an official said.

Major Jonah Wiafi told journalists that he spoke by phone with a woman who informed him that four people were trapped at a particular location following the Wednesday morning collapse.

"We managed to speak to the lady and she confirmed that they were four under the rubble. But at a point, we could not establish contact with her again. We are still trying to search for them, either dead or alive," Wiafi said.

Rescuers have so far managed to pull 75 people from the rubble alive, while 10 have been confirmed dead, he said.

Wiafi added that efforts would continue until all those trapped were brought out.

As night fell rescuers, including an eight-member Israeli team, were still working under a floodlight at the site of the collapsed Melcom mall in Accra.

Meanwhile, officers of the Bureau for National Investigation were on Friday still holding the owner of the building for questioning, deputy information minister Samuel Ablakwa told journalists.

Melcom says it was only renting the building.

It was not clear how many people were inside the building when it collapsed ahead of opening time on Wednesday. Police had initially said around 50 employees worked there, but the number of people located has far exceeded that.

An official investigating the collapse said the building, which opened early this year, lacked a permit and cited structural failure as the cause, adding that the concrete mix used did not appear up to standards.

The Melcom Group of Companies, based in Ghana, includes extensive retail outlets, according to its website.

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