Rescuers search rubble with bare hands

2012-01-16 21:22

Beirut - Using cranes, bulldozers and their bare hands, Lebanese rescue workers pulled bodies from the rubble of a collapsed five-storey residential building on Monday, bringing the death toll to 25, officials said.

Most of the dead were foreign workers living in Lebanon. The owner of the building was arrested on Monday, a day after the building suddenly disintegrated into a pile of twisted metal and broken concrete.

"The ground shook like an earthquake, that's what we all thought," said Mazen Farhat, 46, who lives in the area and was passing by when the building collapsed. "I heard screams, and then the dust was everywhere, and I ran," he said as he stood among dozens of people watching the rescue efforts.

Building collapses in Lebanon are rare, and officials said the cause was not yet clear. It is possible that cracks in the old building were made worse by heavy rain or the effects of several nearby construction sites.

Some residents reported hearing a small blast earlier this week, which turned out to be the snap of a pillar in the building.

Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said the building's owner, Michel Saadeh, was arrested and was being questioned.

Red Cross and civil defence workers in bright orange uniforms pulled out several bodies on stretchers on Monday, rushing them away as relatives gasped and cried softly.

Among them were the bodies of Tanios Farhat, 73, and his three sons, who appeared to have been trapped under the rubble as they tried to save their father.

Rescue efforts were complicated Sunday by heavy rains and a thunderstorm.

Twin

Some 50 tenants lived in the building in Beirut's Fassouh district of Ashrafieh. It collapsed at around 18:00 on Sunday as residents were returning home from work, increasing the number casualties, officials said.

The victims included eight Sudanese, two Filipinos, two Egyptians and two Jordanians, according to the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Ten Lebanese, including 15-year-old Anne Marie Abdel Karim, also died.

"I was asleep, I woke up and felt everything shaking and then something fell on me and I started screaming," said Antonella, Anne Marie's twin sister.

She spoke to local reporters from her hospital bed, not knowing her sister had died. "Thank God it was just this, and nothing more," she said.

Red Cross head of operations George Kattaneh confirmed the number of deaths and said 12 others were injured and were being treated in hospitals.

Several others were still missing, but officials said they did not expect to find any survivors. No survivors have been pulled out since late Sunday night.

The government decided at a meeting on Monday to award compensation of $20 000 to the family of each victim, along with alternative housing.

- AP
Read more on:    lebanon
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 ways to drive her wild!

Fill her nights with passion and drive her wild with the best sex ever!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Angela
10 things you should never say after sex
Guy code: Looking good for the ladies
SA surfer rides massive waves in Maui

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The fixed energy of the Scorpio Moon can make it hard to compromise today. If you set your mind on something you tend to get quite...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.