Rescuers search rubble with bare hands

2012-01-16 21:22

kalahari.com

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

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

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid 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

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...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.