Seven die as mansion tumbles

2014-08-19 00:00

SEVEN construction workers died when the side of a mansion collapsed on them near Alberton yesterday.

Such was the force of the falling masonry that the bodies of two workers were cut in half. Their severed limbs initially had rescue workers thinking nine people had died in the collapse at the Meyersdal Eco Estate.

Rescue workers were still looking for six bodies last night when darkness forced them to call off the search for survivors until first light today.

The entire side of the mansion on the smart estate on Korhaan Street collapsed at about 8 am yesterday while construction workers were busy making structural alterations to the building.

Spokesperson for Ekurhuleni emergency services William Ntladi said because the house was built against a steep incline, rescue workers were struggling to dig through the rubble. He said they had very little room to move and had no idea how many or where workers may have been trapped under the wall.

“This is a mess,” Ntladi said yesterday.

Apart from the seven workers confirmed to have died, eight workers were injured and 11 escaped injury.

Ntladi said two contractors were working on the house, one of which had 24 workers on site — of whom six are still missing.

“The second contractor did not even know how many of his workers were on the site,” Ntladi said.

The rescue workers called off their search at 6.30 pm last night to continue digging today.

The Labour Department yesterday launched an investigation into the accident.

Spokesperson for Labour Mokgadi Pela said a team of inspectors will investigate the scene today in order to provide the minister with a preliminary report as to the cause of the accident.

• This is the second time in a month that the Meyersdal Eco Estate has been in the news.

The giraffe that recently died when its head was bashed against a bridge while in transit, was transported from this estate. The estate did not have permits for giraffe, according to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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