Tongaat: Survivor dropped 3 floors in bakkie

2013-11-20 14:20

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A survivor of the Tongaat shopping centre disaster has told of how she dropped from the third floor of the building in her bakkie minutes after driving into the complex parking.

The woman, a contractor known only as Zo, was still visibly shaken this afternoon when she was pointing out where she thought a colleague, who she had seen as her car began to fall as a result of the building’s collapse, remained trapped.

The labour department is bringing in heavy machinery to lift concrete slabs and other large debris after rescuers called off the search.

Thus far, three people are dead, 29 injured and another three are believed to be missing.

“I was sitting in my bakkie and doing my registers when the floor just gave way. I looked up and saw him there as the van dropped. I’m sure this is where he is,” she said, pointing to a spot next to her crumpled bakkie.

A rescue worker said a sniffer dog had indicated that there was a person buried in the area, but that the size of the pieces of rubble that he was buried under were too large to be moved by hand.

“The dog showed that there is somebody but we need heavy machinery to lift the floor slabs and the big concrete beams,” he said.

Sybil Blose, whose cousin, Mthoko Mhlongo, is still missing at the site, said she had become worried when he didn’t come home last night.

“This is a disaster. We’ve been to the hospital and he’s not there and they don’t have his name. He’s not at the morgue. We don’t know what to do and here they are telling us to go home and come back tomorrow. We don’t know what to do,” she said.

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